When I heard LeBron James was returning to Cleveland, two thoughts instantly popped into my head: One, COOL! And two, what’s going to happen to Dwyane Wade?
With the Decision 2.0, as it’s being called, James left his partner in crime, the Robin to his Batman, and his best friend in the league hanging out to dry. Well, kind of.
Of course, James didn’t owe Wade anything. They had a great four year run together, one of the best of all-time even. Four years, four NBA Finals, two championships. Not too shabby.
Now, though, the championships are in the rearview mirror. LeBron is gone. He’s made his decision. Now Wade has to make his, and it’s definitely not as easy as people might think.
Wade is a legend in Miami. He’s the face of the Miami Heat franchise and was before James got there. Wade’s the one who convinced Bosh and James to join him in South Beach. Yes, they made the decision to play together, but they all ended up on Wade’s team in the city where he’d already won a championship. There’s no doubt Heat owner Micky Arison and general manager Pat Riley want Wade to stay in Miami. They also NEED Wade to stay in Miami. Without Wade, what does Miami have? Norris Cole, Chris Anderson, Danny Granger, and Josh McRoberts. That’s what the Heat have, or had until Riley convinced Bosh to stay with an extra large amount of pocket change.
For a few minutes on Friday, it seemed very lonely in Miami for Wade. It really seemed like he was going to be on his own again, like he was before LeBron and Bosh came to Miami. Then, word broke that Bosh had turned down Houston’s measly offer and signed a five-year, $118 million contract with the Heat. The move leaves Miami with enough cap space to re-sign Wade and try to lure a few more free agents to Miami.
Wade has options, though. Maybe, returning to Miami would be a bad idea for Wade. It’s going to be Bosh’s team next year and for the next few years to come. Bosh is the max player, making max money, and he’ll have to live up to those expectations. Wade, on the other hand, is likely going to take a pay cut, in which he is comfortable with at this point in time. Is Wade ready to take a backseat to Bosh, though? It was always about Wade and LeBron, and Bosh was the afterthought. What’s it going to be like now?
Wade will have to consider all of those questions, along with a few offers from other teams trying to sway Wade from heading back to Miami. Let’s take a look at who those teams could be: