The Miami Heat are reportedly hesitant to offer Dwyane Wade a max contract in free agency. The Chicago Bulls are "aggressively" pursuing him with a two-year offer that could pay $20 million annually, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and K.C. Johnson. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
This is at least the fourth time the Bulls have been linked to Wade. The Bulls reportedly liked him in the 2003 NBA Draft but refused to trade Donyell Marshall in a package to move from No. 7 to No. 5. The Bulls selected Kirk Hinrich instead. The major heartbreak came in 2010, when the Bulls had allusions of signing Wade and one of LeBron James or Chris Bosh. All three eventually signed with Miami, while the Bulls got Carlos Boozer. When Wade hit the open market again in 2014, the Bulls were waiting with open arms. Wade wound up back in Miami, and the Bulls signed Pau Gasol.
It seems very likely that Wojnarowski's report detailing the interest of the Bulls, Nuggets, Bucks and Mavericks is a ploy to get Miami to relent and give Wade a similar golden parachute contract to the one the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant. The Heat, for their part, are still in Kevin Durant dreamland. Wade has taken pay cuts to remain in Miami the last several years and now he wants to be reimbursed for it.
Wade is a native of south suburban Robbins and a graduate of Richards High School. One of my favorite Fun Facts (tm) is that Wade was only ranked as the No. 5 prospect in Illinois high school basketball back in 2000. Maybe the Bulls can sign Cedrick Banks and Imari Sawyer, too.
I don't doubt the Bulls' interest in Wade, because it seems like the Bulls don't have much of a short-term plan in free agency. They simply appear to be to throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. The long-term plan might not be much different -- the Bulls successfully moved on from the old core to a group of younger players. The future of the franchise depends on which of Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, Cristiano Felicio, Doug McDermott, Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie actually turns out to be good, and how good they can become.
The long-term plan is .... fine, if a little uninspiring. Dwyane Wade doesn't fit with that long-term plan. I don't doubt the Bulls have interest, though. It seems like a Very Bulls Thing To Do, doesn't it? With Wade, maybe the Bulls can talk themselves into thinking they can be the No. 5 seed. Without him, they're very likely to be realistically looking at the lottery. A lottery pick in a good and deep draft is the more beneficial route, I think we can all agree.
Signing Wade would be a bandage over a bullet wound. Fortunately, I do not think the Bulls will sign him. This has been leaked to get the Heat to finally pony up, and they probably will. Can you imagine a reality where Dwyane Wade isn't on the Miami Heat? Did Kobe leave the Lakers? Did Tim Duncan leave the Spurs? Did Michael Jordan leave the Bulls?
OK, so maybe it's not totally out of reason. Still: let's tell ourselves this is a negotiating ploy and watch videos of Markelle Fultz instead. It's better that way.