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The Dwyane Wade “Era” Is Over in Chicago

One year after leaving Miami for the Bulls, D-Wade is back on the free-agent market

David Banks/USA Today

Oh, hey. It’s the NBA offseason news cycle that just won’t end.

In a late-Sunday surprise, K.C. Johnson from the Chicago Tribune reported that the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade reached an agreement for a buyout of the $23.8 million Wade was set to make this season. Before Jimmy Butler was sent packing to Minnesota, Wade opted into the final year of the deal he signed with Chicago last season. In the end, Wade’s sweet release from the soon-to-be-tanking Bulls cost him approximately $8 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With the Bulls in a full-blown rebuild, Wade’s ouster was a matter of time. And now we are perhaps one step closer to getting a reunion of Wade and LeBron James. As Woj reported, the Cavs appear to be a front-runner for the soon-to-be free agent’s next team. Wade is also reportedly considering a different reunion, with the Miami Heat, and a perennial contender, the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder, with Carmelo Anthony now in tow, could also “become [a] factor.”

Even though Wade exited South Beach on strange terms with the organization and Pat Riley, Miami can offer him the most money ($4.2 million) and a return to his actual current home. Gregg Popovich and San Antonio offer a chance to play with a top-notch organization and a plausible shot at another title.

At 35, Wade is past his peak basketball value. Though he still has flashes of brilliance, he hasn’t played 75 or more games in any of the past six seasons. Last season he played in just 60, the fourth-fewest in the past decade, logging 29.9 minutes per game, the lowest of his career. If a starting role is what Wade prioritizes, he may find that difficult among the list of teams currently circulating. If a long-term deal is what he’s after, perhaps LeBron’s uncertain future in Cleveland becomes an issue.

Regardless, this has become a fascinating story to track as training camps open. Where Wade goes will not only impact this season, but it could hint toward what other moves may be on the horizon ahead of the 2018 free-agency frenzy. Let the social media “like” tracking begin.

We’re 23 days from the start of the season, the bulk of the NBA is hosting media day Monday, and player movement is still afoot. The NBA offseason has been as fascinating as it has been endless. Shouts to Sam Presti. Shouts to superstar friendships. Shouts to the Midwest for being a relevant NBA destination. Shouts to the Banana Boat crew, whose supposed dream of playing together is slowly getting more plausible by the day. And shouts to the NBA, for never stopping, but always being entertaining.