If the Chicago Bulls care about the thoughtz and feelz of their young players, Dwyane Wade won’t be around much longer.
While appearing on ESPN’s Tuesday edition of The Jump, Nick Friedell reminded us that The Windy City’s kiddies don’t have a soft spot for their veteran teammate:
The young players on the Bulls really can’t stand Dwyane. It’s like the little secret in Chicago. They have had enough. That’s why I think the Bulls are kind of hoping to get this thing finalized.
When asked by Israel Gutierrez why the youngings don’t like Wade, Friedell expanded:
He didn’t practice, which at this point, a lot of veterans don’t practice. But they really got upset because he called them all out in the media, and he said ‘You guys aren’t working hard enough.’ And then they had a big team meeting the next day and they said ‘Who are you to say we’re not working hard, because we’re out there everyday busting our butt.’ There’s a lot of friction there. There’s a lot of tension.
Some of this tension is organic. Wade is the only player on the Bulls over the age of 30. He doesn’t fit their timeline. The front office would have been perfectly happy if he declined his $23.8 option for this season and went elsewhere, and there’s no doubt Wade would, at this point, prefer to play for another team.
But he elected to get his money, and good for him. The Bulls knew long before they signed him that they were a Jimmy Butler trade away from rebuilding. They entertained moving him before the 2016 draft and then decided to give Wade that fat two-year deal when they didn’t. They can’t be rankled that he wanted to collect everything they guaranteed him.
Still, as Friedell noted, a buyout is inevitable—a matter of when, not if. He called negotiations—or lack thereof—a staring contest between the Bulls and Dwyane Wade, with each side trying to figure out who will concede more. Teams tend to sacrifice more than players in these proceedings, but the Bulls don’t need cap space and they have to know Wade will run to LeBron James in Cleveland the first chance he gets. Things should get interesting from here.