Dwyane Wade, Heat acrimony could lead to departure

Dwyane Wade, Heat acrimony could lead to departure

Not saying Dwyane Wade will leave the Miami Heat and join another team.

But he could.

Not saying Wade will sign with the Denver Nuggets.

But he could.

This is not the usual song and dance between Wade the Heat where the two sides eventually come to terms on a deal after harmless flirting with others.

And Wade still might end up back with the Heat, the team with which he has spent his entire NBA career.

But for now, the possibility of him leaving is real as it’s ever been, according to a report in the Miami Herald that described the relationship between Wade and the Heat as untrusting.

“The Miami Heat’s long and healthy marriage with Dwyane Wade is in a delicate, danger place. The tension and frustration is real, and it pushes Wade and the Heat closer than they have ever been to a messy divorce,” longtime Miami-based sports writer Dan LeBatard wrote in the Herald.

Why the acrimony now? Wade wants to get paid. For years, he has sacrificed financially to accommodate roster building and championship runs. The Heat want to protect salary cap flexibility.

It has led to Wade seeking opportunities with other teams and setting up meetings with the Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks.

From Wade’s perspective, it’s easy to see why he’s jilted. The Heat put a premium on retaining Hassan Whiteside, and they chased Kevin Durant in free agency. That might have left Wade wondering where he fit in Miami’s list of priorities after 13 seasons with the franchise, three championships and a 2015-16 season in which he played 74 games and averaged 19 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and shot 45.6% from the field.

Wade may have felt the deal he thought he deserved was coming his way when Heat president Pat Riley told reporters before free agency that “Compensation to a player is not just a way to get paid and to live your life. Compensation to a player is about recognition and respect and place. We know where he belongs … He’s a lifer. What he’s done in this city over the last 13 years is irreplaceable, and so we’re going to do the right thing. There’s no doubt.”

What Riley thinks is the right thing and what Wade thinks is the right thing don’t appear to be the same right now.

That doesn’t mean they can’t find common ground either.

But at least Wade is serious about entertaining offers from other teams. There has been some chatter about Wade joining LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that scenario is implausible at best, considering the Cavs have just the taxpayer mid-level exception at $3.47 million to offer Wade.

For a player looking at much larger deal, that won’t work. It’s possible the Cavs could make significant trades, execute creative salary-cap gymnastics and open cap space. And even then they wouldn’t have enough to offer both James and Wade what they’re looking for in their next contracts. It’s fun to discuss but unlikely to happen.

The other teams, including the Heat, seem like realistic possibilities. Wade could be doing this for leverage, which is certainly his right, and it’s difficult to imagine him in another uniform, too.

Like many relationships, this one can be repaired, too. Somewhere between business and loyalty, there’s room to strike a deal that appeases Wade and the Heat.

Not saying he won’t leave Miami for another team.

But he could.

Questions is, after all this time, success, goodwill and the prospect of a long-term post-career relationship with Miami, will he?

Source: MSN Sports

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