When the Chicago Bulls begin the 2017-18 regular season, head coach Fred Hoiberg expects Dwyane Wade to be on the team and part of the rotation.
And that, in turn, means no buyout is forthcoming.
General manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson were extremely up front about this in June, and Forman recently echoed those sentiments while in Las Vegas for summer-league action, per the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson:
Gar Forman said there have been no buyout discussions with Wade.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 10, 2017
This comes almost immediately after head coach Fred Hoiberg noted that he expects Wade to be with the Bulls next season, Nick Friedell:
The Chicago Bulls expect veteran guard Dwyane Wade to begin next season on the team’s roster, despite speculation throughout the league regarding a potential buyout between the former All-Star and the team.
When asked Sunday whether he thought Wade would be bought out before the season begins, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said, “As of right now, no. I don’t see that.”
“I know [general manager] Gar [Forman] has spoken to Leon Rose, Dwyane’s agent,” Paxson said. “As far as a buyout, it has not been broached. I will say this, that in this type of scenario, it would have to benefit us. It would absolutely have to benefit us. Dwyane was a great pro last year, and he’s been around a lot of different situations. He was in Miami when they had a couple rebuilding years as well. So right now we’re operating under the assumption that he’ll be here. But like I said, if that subject is ever broached by them, then it would have to be advantageous for us.”
There’s no incentive for the Bulls to buyout Wade at full price. They would essentially be paying for him to up and join the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even at a slight discount, that’s a bizarre thing for them to bankroll.
Wade picked up his $23.8 million knowing the Bulls might pivot into a rebuild. That’s exactly what they did a couple days later, flipping Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. And though the roster and situation is no doubt less attractive to him now, Wade isn’t likely to have a drastic change of heart, either. He opted into the final year of his deal because of the money. To take a mega-discount now would go completely against that logic.
Maybe there’s a middle ground that’ll emerge between now and the start of the season. Or maybe Wade is deemed detrimental to the locker room full of kiddies and the Bulls just pay him to go away (beyond unlikely on both counts). Whatever happens, even if Wade ultimately finishes the season in Chicago, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of buyout talks. The 35-year-old shooting guard looks wildly out of place on a team that is otherwise setup to bottom out next season, an uneven fit that will, at some point, give way to a serious about-face on one or both sides of the fence.