When midnight hit on July 1, NBA free agency began and all eyes fall on the Miami Heat who are at risk of losing their long-time star, Dwyane Wade. The veteran informed the team on June 29 that he was opting out of his $16 million player option and will become a free agent when the market opens. So when free agency did officially begin, the first move the Heat made was to call Wade.
According to the Miami Herald, the Heat called Wade at the start of free agency in hopes of starting negotiations on a new contract for the veteran. Team sources report Wade wants a contract that surpasses the $16 million option he was going to have while the Heat are only offering around $10 million per season. That would be yet another pay cut they expect Wade to take in order to sign other talent on the roster. Wade is done taking pay cuts for the Heat.
UPDATE: Goran Dragic has agreed to a five year deal with Miami.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports told FOX Sports that there is a minimal chance Wade leaves the Heat as Miami will likely offer him a max contract. Most NBA sources appear to agree with this notion, but what does it do to the rest of the salary cap? Wade wants a multi-year deal worth upwards of $45 to $60 million according to Wojnarowski. However, point guard Goran Dragic is also seeking a max contract. The Heat cannot give out two.
Does this mean trades are in the future for the Heat in order to afford everyone? According to ESPN.com, players like Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen are on the chopping block for the Heat along with Luol Deng who shocked everyone by opting in on his player option. The Heat drafted Justise Winslow who is predicted to emerge as a star for the Heat. According to Winslow he is hopeful to play alongside Wade in the coming season.
"I feel like we can mesh well," Winslow said, via the Miami Sun-Sentinel. "I feel like we're all so talented and can do so many things on the court that we'll be able to complement each other's skills, and our presence on the court will be great. I'm ready to get down there, meet the guys and I know we'll have a bright future."
The Heat are also looking at other free agents should Wade opt to leave. Arron Afflalo, Wesley Matthews and Monta Ellis are all free agent shooting guards who could take over for the veteran if need be. Team president Pat Riley has made it clear that his priority is re-signing Wade, but that remains to be seen.