MIAMI — Dwyane Wade signed with Chicago before last season in large part because the affinity for his hometown was still very strong.
A year later, he’s about to be on the move.
Wade and the Bulls agreed to terms on a buyout agreement Sunday, a person with direct knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press. Wade is considering several options, including a potential return to Miami or a reunion with longtime friend LeBron James in Cleveland, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the buyout has not been formally announced.
Wade will have other suitors as well. ESPN reported San Antonio would be a possible landing spot and Oklahoma City — which added Paul George this summer and will formally complete the trade with New York for Carmelo Anthony on Monday — would also seem to make sense as well. Wade has kept his home in Miami, and Heat teammates have made little secret that they would welcome him back with open arms.
Heat President Pat Riley said late last week that he is still in love with Wade. He could not discuss the possibility of trying to bring Wade back to the Heat because NBA tampering rules do not allow such conversations about players under contract with other clubs.
That contract is about to come to a quick close. Wade was due about $24 million this season from the Bulls, who traded Jimmy Butler away this summer and are entering a rebuilding phase.
After the Butler trade, it was evident Wade was getting a buyout. The question was when. And now the question is: What will Wade decide next?
“Anything that happens from a personnel standpoint down the road, or any opportunities that are there, we’re always going to approach that,” Riley said Friday.
The opportunity is coming for the Heat, and anyone else who’s interested.
Wade averaged 18.3 points for Chicago and returned from injury late in the season to help the Bulls get into the playoffs. Over his 14 seasons, Wade has averaged 23.3 points, been to the playoffs 12 times, won three rings and took home the 2006 NBA Finals MVP award.
Bulls President John Paxson told CSN Chicago last week that he and general manager Gar Forman sat down with Wade when the season ended, and planned to do so again when Wade went back to Chicago.
Given how quickly the buyout was agreed to, that talk apparently happened fast.