Big Byron Breakdown: What Next For Dwyane Wade?
It is widely reported that 12-time All Star Dwyane Wade is set to come to terms on a contract buyout with the Chicago Bulls. Wade signed with the Bulls last offseason with a two-year, $47 million deal. He decided to opt into his the second year of his contract this offseason, just before the Bulls decided to go into rebuild mode. A sign of the direction Chicago was heading was clarified when they traded their other All-Star, Jimmy Butler, to the Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls also decided to release Rajon Rondo.
Chicago now has a roster of young players, and is expected to be a poor team with little ambition next season (apart from securing a promising lottery pick). Keeping Wade around does not seem like a wise decision. A buyout between the two would be the best possible resolution for both - It allows Wade to pick his next destination and the Bulls to continue to give their youngsters some gametime.
Wade is clearly still a talented player, despite not being the magician he once was. There are several destinations that make sense for the veteran, and I’ll attempt to break down the best options here.
Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are clearly great friends, with questions surrounding Kyrie’s future and Lebron needing more help, this move could make perfect sense for both team and player. When the buyout was originally mentioned for Wade, the Cavaliers were the first team on everyone’s mind; I can’t see that changing once the buyout is completed.
Ideally, Cavs could look to keep Kyrie and add Wade to that starting line-up, essentially kicking Mr JR ‘You Tryna Get the Pipe’ Smith to the bench. But it would then give them more options as they look to go small in games and show a different look to the opposing teams – much like in the NBA finals.
The bench that plagued the Cavaliers through most of the Finals would be bolstered by Smith being the shot-maker for the second unit. Wade also gives LeBron that other playmaker he was desperately asking for last season; Wade averaged 4.6 assists per-36 minutes on a Bulls team with no-where near the level of talent the Cavaliers would offer.
A potential stumbling block for Wade though, could be the uncertainty over the future of Lebron James. A one year deal for Dwyane would make the most sense, and a long term deal could give some indication as to Lebron’s future plans. A one year deal could also open the door for Wade to then follow Lebron to any future destination he opts for.
Los Angeles Lakers
As much as the Lakers want to return to the glory days as soon as possible, Dwyane Wade won’t have enough impact to do so immediately. Magic Johnson knows that the Lakers are a team associated with star players and a superstar like Wade would be a perfect sideshow to accompany Lonzo, LaVar and the rest of the big ballers.
The Lakers are undergoing a youth movement with the current top players on their roster all still on their rookie contracts. After unloading the monster contract they placed on Timofey Mozgov and saying goodbye to the loose lips of D’Angelo Russell, they are now relying upon this year’s number 2 pick Lonzo Ball and 2016’s number 2 pick Brandon Ingram.
Wade is one of the most respected players in the league and a proven winner, having a veteran like this to be helping develop your future is good business for everyone, and if you’re lucky he might just tempt a certain Lebron James to join him the following year.
If Wade is more interested in winning now though, then he’d be wise to ignore the Lakers and head elsewhere.
The Rockets would be the best possible destination for Wade if he was interested in winning now. When assembling Chris Paul with James Harden, GM Daryl Morey demonstrated that he is not interested in creating a team of players that slot in together, but more so signing the best talent available and hoping that great players make a great team.
Wade would have to settle for far less of the ball than he’s used to, as it remains to be seen how it will be shared between Harden and CP3. Paul and MVP-candidate James Harden love to have the ball in their hands, but they are also masterful creators not afraid to find the open man.
This would take some serious cap maneuvering, or Wade to take a large pay-cut. Wade will likely reach a big buyout figure with the Bulls and could be willing to play for much less because of it.
Wade joining the Rockets would give them more ammunition against the Warriors. He also would be able to share the floor with either Harden or Paul when one of the two take to the bench.
If he wants to win now, this could be the best choice.
One of the more left field choices for Wade, could in fact be the most enticing; The Milwaukee Bucks showed that they are a team to be taken seriously last year, making it into the playoffs behind their All-Star point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Obviously the Bucks aren’t yet on the level of the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Boston Celtics, but they are certainly on the right track.
Giannis could continue his meteoric rise up the NBA ranks with the addition of Wade. Surrounded by Wade, Kris Middleton, rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon and a hopefully healthy Jabari Parker, that team could start talking about Eastern Conference Finals. We know Wade ups his game in the playoffs, and this could be a perfect fit.
Wade would have the leisure of little defensive responsibility given the talents elsewhere in the roster. The Greek Freak does what it says on the tin and is a monster when protecting the basket, Brogdon showed great potential when defending point guards last season and Middleton is no pushover either. Wade could take up the worst perimeter option on the opposing side and do his work at the other end of the court.
Jason Kidd is one of the most tactically astute coaches in the NBA and Wade would allow him to get even more creative with his plays and rotations. Typically the Bucks aren’t a particularly glamourous free agent destination, but the lure of Kidd and Giannis could be enough to reel Dwyane in for one last fairytale.
Golden State Warriors
Simply put, Wade joining the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t be fair on the rest of the NBA. The reigning champs already have a stacked roster, and certainly don’t NEED Wade, but then they didn’t need Durant either, and that didn’t stop them.
Wade and Iguodala would provide a similar punch off the bench, and this enticing possibility is why the Warriors should, at the very least, think about bringing in Wade.
I mentioned earlier that Wade could be willing to take a paycut, and he’d have to do so to return to Miami. Plenty of bridges would need to be built before this was possible, but it certainly would be a nice happy ending to Wade’s career, wouldn’t it? Wade could come home to Miami and join former All-Star Goran Dragic in the backcourt, it doesn’t make much sense on the court, but for nostalgic reasons, you wouldn’t rule it out.