Dwayne Wade’s journey through the waters of free agency has shifted yet again.
With the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat seemingly fading out of the picture, the Denver Nuggets are now stepping up their pursuit of the free-agent veteran and come armed with $28 million in salary-cap space, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Wade has made it known that he will not play for less than last season’s $20 million salary.
With the Knicks and Bulls priced out of the market for Wade’s services, the Heat also seem to be out of the as they have only $19 million in cap space and have reportedly angered Wade by prioritizing Hassan Whiteside and Kevin Durant over Wade, who has taken numerous paycuts and has taken short-term deals to help the team with flexibility over the years.
Wade has spent the entirety of his NBA career in Miami and has won three championships.
Wade’s representative have reached out to Denver and the Dallas Mavericks. The Milwaukee Bucks are also in pursuit as they have a free-agent recruiting meeting scheduled with Wade next week, after he returns from his European vacation, according to Stein.
Although Wade’s camp has put out feelers to the San Antonio Spur, the Spurs are not interested.
Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald wrote that Miami may have to do some serious recruiting if they wish to retain Wade:
Now, it’s clear the Heat needs to re-recruit Wade. According to multiple team and league sources, he was given some preliminary potential parameters but was essentially asked to wait for specific figures until the Hassan Whiteside and Durant situations played out.
That was likely largely logistical. Dallas and Portland made it known they would pursue Whiteside, and the center declared he wanted his situation settled quickly; that’s exactly what happened, as he struck a deal with Miami seven hours after free agency opened.
So, yes, you can understand why the Heat hoped Wade would stand by. It just might not have been wise, another odd misread of someone with whom the organization should be intimately familiar after 13 years. Wade hasn’t just given up money. He has repeatedly given up rank. He is the franchise face, for all time, and yet frequently seems to be sacrificing his standing for someone else.