Dwyane Wade didn’t opt into the final year of his deal with the Chicago Bulls just so he could make $23.8 million.
He stuck around at least in part because he thought they were trying to be something more than one of the NBA’s five worst squads.
So much for that.
According to HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy, the relationship between Wade and the Bulls is every bit as rickety as we believe it to be, and if what he writes is true, the future Hall of Famer has a valid beef with the team everyone knows he won’t finish the season with:
Wade’s frustration stems from the fact that he feels the front office misled him about the direction of the team. As his June 27 deadline to opt-in to the final year of his contract approached, the veteran shooting guard wanted assurances from the front office that the Bulls would field a competitive team during the 2017-18 season. Wade didn’t want to opt-in and then watch the franchise enter a rebuilding period. Sources close to the situation say that Wade received those assurances. Jimmy Butler was also given the impression that he wouldn’t be traded, according to league sources.
The 35-year-old believed that if he opted in to his $23,800,000 salary, Butler would remain in Chicago and the organization would once again try to make some noise in the Eastern Conference – especially coming off an impressive first-round series against the Boston Celtics that went to six games (and one the Bulls may have won if not for an injury to Rajon Rondo).
Things like this can leak out because people have agendas. But, like, does anyone truly not believe these findings?
Yes, Wade most definitely wanted his money. It probably would have taken him three years to recoup that $23.8 million. But he’s also 35, with nearly $180 million in career earnings to his name. There’s no doubt he wanted to be on a team that was prepared to contend. It would make sense that he’d seek assurances from the Bulls before opting in.
It does not, however, make sense that he would get them. Butler, as Kennedy notes, was traded the day after Wade opted in. Deals like that don’t come out of nowhere. The Bulls had to have an inkling long before the fact. After all, Butler was almost traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves the year before, during the 2016 draft.
Ah, well. What’s done is done. And Wade most certainly isn’t a complete stranger to the Bulls’ front office. He knew the Butler talks existed a year ago and needed to exercise caution when showing Chicago any sort of loyalty. He is not blameless in this situation. But his culpability, fortunately for him, should be short-lived. The Bulls and himself will reach a buyout eventually. It’s a matter of when, not if. He’ll regain control over where he plays soon enough.