Could Dwyane Wade possibly be on his way to the Los Angeles Lakers to join Kobe Bryant?
This was what CBS Sports’ Matt Moore pondered on in his June 21 article. If that happens, Lakers fans should rejoice.
Wade has a player’s option for the 2015-16 NBA season worth $16.1 million, per HoopsHype.com.
Moore starts off by citing a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix which says Wade and the Lakers have mutual interest:
While many execs still see Wade/Heat as contract saber rattling, a Wade option will be the Lakers. Mutual interest, per league sources.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 21, 2015
With that, Moore says two former NBA Finals MVPs in Wade and Bryant joining forces is “not a purely crazy idea.” Los Angeles could offer Wade a big, short-term contract that makes them better while rebuilding for the future. The crucial building blocks here would be forward Julius Randle and whoever the Lakers will snag with the second overall pick in this week’s NBA draft, most probably either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, per CBS Sports. By doing all these, the Lakers could sell more tickets, boost ratings and make it possible for Bryant to win his sixth NBA championship ring, per Moore. As for trying to lure Wade out of South Beach, Moore says the best way to do this is to get Heat president Pat Riley’s attention by telling him straight up the Lakers—the same team he led to four NBA titles as a head coach in the 1980s—want his franchise icon. The thought of Wade leaving the Heat last month seemed inconceivable, but Moore says “things have deteriorated quickly” in Miami. Wade’s father, Dwyane Wade, Sr., stirred things up even more when he was spotted wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers t-shirt in his church on Sunday.
This could be a potential reunion with LeBron James in the making.
What’s more is the younger’s Wade’s discontent with the Heat is “not just noise,” per Moore. Leaking this out to media would give Wade a lot of publicity, a part of a bigger negotiating ploy.
On the other hand, Moore wonders what Chris Bosh’s future will be in Miami if Wade does bolt. Bosh spurned a huge offer from the Houston Rockets to stay with the Heat, and now this.
Point guard Goran Dragic’s status in Miami could also be affected if Wade leaves, per CBS Sports. Just like Wade, Dragic also has a player option for next season. The Slovenian guard’s is worth $7.5 million, per HoopsHype.com.
Whether or not Wade joins the Lakers, Moore closes things out by saying the team is not interested in tanking or long-term rebuilding. They want to win now, and they will do so by all means necessary.
The Parting Shot
Ever imagine Dwyane Wade in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform? It may look awkward, but it can happen.
First, the Lakers have cap space.
As of June 21, six players—Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Price, Xavier Henry, Wayne Ellington and Wesley Johnson—remain unsigned. Steve Nash also has retired, so that leaves the Lakers with approximately $33 million in cap space, per HoopsHype.com.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 21, 2015
Unless Los Angeles signs a bigger-name point guard, chances are it will re-sign Lin, who earned $14.9 million in 2014-15, to a contract extension. If that is the case, the Lakers still have ample room to add somebody like Wade. The Lakers need to add another high-caliber veteran. Drafting Towns or Okafor won’t be enough. They won a combined 48 games in the past two seasons. Getting a big man in the draft will help matters. But this is really a team which needs help in almost very department, especially defense (by giving up an average of 105.3 points, the Lakers were 29th in the NBA last season). As for the Heat, The Miami Herald’s Linda Robertson believes Wade is likely to opt out of his deal, test the market and “seek a three-year, $60 million contract.”
Robertson says Wade has every reason to leave the only NBA team he has ever played for:
But Wade, 33, has millions of reasons to leave. He wants to get paid. He has always been the guy taking less to build a better team. He has never had the highest salary on the roster.
He’s tired of sacrificing the good of the franchise. Since 2010 he has earned about $20 million less than he could have with the maximum contracts.
James and Bosh got their max deals. So will Dragic and (Hassan) Whiteside. Why should Wade continue to be a bargain?
Here we are, at the crux of everything that happens in sports. Make no mistake: It’s always about the money.
Robertson makes a valid point. After all, Wade already has three NBA championship rings. He’s at that point when he needs to experience getting paid like a franchise player at least once in his career.
However, there are two risks here: age and injury history. As previously mentioned, Wade is already 33. In spite of this, he did average 21.5 points last season for the Heat.
Robertson mentions Wade “has played only two-thirds of the games the past couple of years.” More specifically, he has suited up in an average of just 59 games over the course of the past four seasons due to his nagging knee issues, per ESPN.
Will the Lakers take a gamble on somebody like him?
If it’s a short-term deal like Moore mentioned, it could still work out. Whatever Wade’s plans are, there were already signs he wanted out of Miami.
Take, for instance, his recently-concluded basketball analyst gig with ABC for the 2015 NBA Finals. Several weeks ago, Wade was slated to interview his former teammate with the Heat, LeBron James.
LeBron James Interviewed by Dwyane Wade | Warriors vs Cavaliers | Game 3 | 2015 NBA Finals http://t.co/7moMBtDSk4
— Markee Randolph © (@MagicMarkee) June 10, 2015
Wade and James reunited and side by side in full view of millions of televiewers. Doesn’t that tell us something?
The two of them could be on to something we are not, and Wade’s father wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers t-shirt in church this weekend could very well be the start of something big.
However, that’s mere speculation. The Lakers are still in the hunt. Heck, never count the Heat out for that matter. If this means signing Wade to a more lucrative deal so they can keep Dragic and make Bosh happy, then so be it.
The offseason has just begun and to say that it is interesting is a huge understatement.