For once, it shouldn’t be about the money.
If the Bulls truly have their heart set on tanking away the 2017-2018 season, buying out a large chunk of the $23.8 million contract owed to 35-year-old shooting guard Dwyane Wade seems like the obvious move. Maybe even just paying the whole thing, if it achieves the goal of removing Wade from the roster.
FanRagSports.com writer Morten Jensen has an interesting editorial on the subject, where buying out or trading Wade isn’t as painstakingly obvious as it seems.
On the one hand, just excising Wade from the rotation provides opportunity:
As it is, Chicago’s core of youngsters isn’t overwhelmingly impressive, so they all need as many reps as possible. Having Wade handle the ball for most of the 30 minutes he’s out there means fewer chances for Kris Dunn to prove his rookie season was a fluke, and for Valentine to showcase his playmaking abilities.
On the other...if the Bulls want to be bad, playing Dwyane Wade a lot may help that goal:
Having Wade play 30 minutes a night where he keeps spacing to a minimum, and is a complete defensive liability, might prove to be the best plan for the Bulls, especially if they decide to use Wade primarily against opponent starting units that would target him defensively.
Wade would probably not mind being the top guy again, since he’s quick to point the finger anywhere but himself and remains under the illusion that he’s a difference maker. He is, but probably in the opposite way of what he thinks. If the Bulls are smart — always a big if — they will let his ego take charge of the season and fail through him.
It’s the ultimate devil’s advocate take to the Bulls-must-buyout-Dwyane-Wade narrative. But the “buyout Wade” advocates may have the more convincing argument. For one thing, Wade’s reportedly sour relationship with his younger teammates damages the plausibility of keeping him around for another season.
Wade recently fueled the buyout fire in an impromptu conversation he had with TMZ Sports paparazzi.
"We text each other," Wade said about LeBron -- but when we asked if he was gonna join him next season he told us, "I'm gonna join him at dinner this week somewhere."
The speculation here is more ‘how’ and ‘when’ the Bulls will unload Wade, because the ‘if’ part of the scenario is a fairly obvious yes.
However, if the Bulls are committed to the process of rebuilding, unloading Wade sooner rather than later is the right course of action.