After months of speculation and differing expectations, the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade have finally reached a buyout, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Wade will become a free agent after surrendering money in the neighborhood of $8 million off his $23 million contract. This means Chicago owes Wade around $15 million to play somewhere else next season.
For the Bulls, it frees up a significant amount of cash to use later when the team may be competitive again. This money will hopefully be put toward acquiring final pieces for a playoff run a few years down the road. Or at least I hope that’s what Gar Forman and John Paxson were thinking, you never know with them. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if those loons went out and bought a different aging veteran with this $8 million tomorrow.
Though it’s frustrating to pay someone that $15 million to help someone else, Wade wasn’t going to do much in Chicago anyway. The Bulls have moved on from basically all veterans. Wade’s only real contribution next year would be to mentor some of the young kids, but I don’t see that being a huge impact.
In fact, Wade may have detracted from the rebuild next year by playing well enough to win a couple of extra games. Additionally, he would have taken playing time away from guys like Paul Zipser and Denzel Valentine, and maybe even Kris Dunn. Getting game experience is crucial to the development of young players.
Overall, it’s nice to see the Bulls front office take an unpleasant but dedicated step towards the rebuild. That certainly didn’t happen draft night when they opted for money instead of a second-round pick. It would have been “unpleasant” for GarPax had their pick not turned out, but who cares? Second round picks occasionally make a name for themselves.
Tonight, they finally took that kind of step, knowing critics may get angry at their no-immediate-return payment. If used correctly however, this may well yield a big return in the future.
The move comes a day before most NBA teams hold their media day, and six days before the start of training camp. My guess is Wade started to feel jittery about playing with the Bulls. Realizing the potential success of joining another team, he probably increased his money yield to where the Bulls wanted.
Now, Wade is free to sign with any team he chooses. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the current front-runners are probably the Cavaliers, led by Wade’s old friend LeBron James. San Antonio and Oklahoma City, powerhouses in the West, are in the running as well. Intriguingly, the Miami Heat may lure Wade back to South Beach to end his career where it began.