Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade is reportedly weighing whether or not to exercise a player option for $16.1 million for the 2015-16 season, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The deadline for Wade's decision with his contract is June 29, with free agency beginning on July 1. Should negotiations fall through, the Los Angeles Lakers might be one of the teams the veteran guard considers
"If Wade went anywhere, at any point, I've typically heard L.A. as an option," Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report mentioned while discussing the latest on Wade's future with the Heat. Wade opted out and took a paycut of around $10 million over two years last season to give the Heat flexibility to add to their roster while the team was still looking to re-sign LeBron James in the wake of their NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. LeBron is gone, and it sounds like Wade is looking to have his loyalty rewarded, similarly to Kobe Bryant's most recent extension (from the Miami Herald):
...according to associates, Wade wants to opt out this summer, with the hope that the Heat would give him a lucrative three-year deal that would extend past his 36th birthday.
That does not appear to be the Heat's preference. The Heat apparently would be content with Wade opting in for next season, then re-signing for good, but not huge, money for another two seasons after that.
Regardless of whether Wade opts out or not, there is believed to be a sizable gap between what Wade would like over the next three seasons and what the Heat would prefer to pay him.
Additionally, Skolnick mentioned that he expects the two sides to work out there differences and Wade to remain in Miami, but this rumor is an interesting one nonetheless. Both Wade and Bryant have shown over the last two years that neither are likely to get through a season healthy, so could the two split minutes as they look to prolong their careers?
It sounds far-fetched, but Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers front office have made some unexpected moves before, and armed with around $22 million in cap space, the Lakers could certainly compensate Wade well. Whether that is the correct choice or not is one of the big decisions the front office has ahead of them this summer.