Dwyane Wade meets with Nuggets, Bucks and Bulls as he considers leaving the Heat


While most of the big names in free agency have already agreed to contracts, one legend remains without a team. Dwyane Wade's negotiations with the Heat have gone nowhere, so he has meetings scheduled with the Nuggets, Bucks and Bulls. There is a very real possibility that he actually leaves the one team he's ever known.
Wade and the Heat underwent a similar situation last year before agreeing on a one-year, $20 million contract, but feelings are rawer on all sides. The idea was to give Wade a big salary while retaining flexibility to add a third star this offseason, but the surprising rise of Hassan Whiteside made that difficult. After locking down the 27-year-old center, the Heat only have around $19 million to offer Wade on the first year of his new contract. Miami is willing to offer a two-year, $40 million deal, but Wade is reportedly seeking either a salary starting at around $25 million or a three-year commitment. He is tired of taking pay cuts to help the Heat.
The impasse has opened the door for other suitors to make a pitch. Initially, nobody thought Wade was serious about leaving Miami. His decision to consider other options was seen as an attempt to gain leverage and force the Heat into shedding salary and making a better offer. In the past couple of days, however, reports have started to indicate that Wade is seriously entertaining the possibility of leaving, as his relationship with the Heat's brass has deteriorated.
The Nuggets met with Wade for two and a half hours early on Wednesday and have reportedly prepared a two-year, $52 million contract offer to Wade. The Heat can't come close to matching that offer without dumping Josh McRoberts and his $5.8 million salary on a team with enough cap space to absorb it. It's unclear whether the front office is willing to do that. Their two-year, $40 million offer might be as high as they are willing and able to go.
The Bucks and the Bulls will also get meetings. The Bucks could have enough cap space to make a similar offer to the one the Nuggets reportedly put on the table, but only if they find a taker for Greg Monroe. They have the benefit of being located in Milwaukee, close to where Wade attended college at Marquette University. They took a big step back last year after making the playoffs in the 2014-15 season but have plenty of young talent and could return to the postseason with Wade leading the way.
The Bulls are the only team reportedly offering a third year, albeit only partially guaranteed, according to Wojnarowski. That could give them the edge against the other suitors. The fact that Wade grew up in Chicago could also help their pitch. They would have to move players to create enough cap space to make Wade a competitive offer, but seem committed to adding him. Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler have been recruiting him, according to Basketaball Insiders' Alex Kennedy.
The Cavaliers were at one point considered to be in the running, but they lacked the cap flexibility to add Wade. There were rumors about LeBron James potentially taking the minimum to make room for him, but they were quickly debunked by NBA.com's David Aldridge. James is not even recruiting Wade, according to the Miami Herald's Ethan J. Skolnick. That leaves Wade with only four options at this point, though there are various conspiracy theories that suggest Wade will somehow end up in Cleveland anyway.
Wade is scheduled to complete his interviews with the Nuggets, Bucks and Bulls on Wednesday afternoon. The Heat will have a final chance to convince Wade when he meets with owner Micky Arison, according to Wojnarowski. Will that be enough to keep a Miami legend in South Florida? Only time will tell.


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