The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat free agent to-be Dwyane Wade have mutual interest, according to a report by Chris Mannix of SI.com. Wade was considered to be a lock to re-sign with the Heat, the only team he has ever played for, but the relationship between the player and organization appeared to be strained when a report was released that they are far apart on the value of a new deal. Wade is the second Heat guard to be reportedly low-balled by the Heat in the last 24 hours, with the front office supposedly prepared to offer Goran Dragic a contract well short of the maximum allowed.
While most assume that eventually Wade and the Heat will come to an agreement, there have been some hints that the star guard is seriously considering leaving Miami. The evidence is far from concrete, but Wade did refer to Miami in the past-tense during the NBA Finals. Wade's dad, Dwyane Wade Sr, also recently appeared in a Cleveland Cavaliers t-shirt, fueling speculation that his son will follow LeBron James to Ohio.
The crux of the issue with the Heat and Wade is that Wade has taken less-than max deals in the past in order to allow the Heat the flexibility to sign free agents (such as LeBron James and Chris Bosh), and now wants to opt-out of his current deal and get paid for his generosity. Miami, on the other hand, would prefer that Wade opt-in, which would pay him $16.1 million next season and delay his free agency until the summer of 2016. This would allow the Heat to have the room necessary to pursue Kevin Durant.
With a pair of knees that aren't getting any younger the 33 year-old Wade isn't keen on waiting, and is considering leaving Miami altogether to get what he wants.
For the Lakers Wade would appear to be an odd fit. While they could certainly use a veteran presence, the Lakers would have to fork over a hefty contract in order to get Wade to leave Miami. Money aside, the aging Wade likely wouldn't be enough to bring the Lakers back to the playoffs, and having him and Kobe Bryant on the floor would likely hamper the development of young guard Jordan Clarkson. For Wade, spending the twilight years of his career battling the behemoths of the West to sneak into the playoffs can't sound like a very appealing option.
Additionally, Wade's poor three point shooting would create major spacing issues with a potential starting lineup of Clarkson, Wade, Byrant, Julius Randle, and possible draft pick Jahlil Okafor. Having both Wade and Bryant as key cogs in the rotation would also carry tremendous injury risk, as both players have been knowing for missing lots of games with a variety of injuries as they have aged.
It's always possible that someone is simply throwing out the Lakers as a possible landing spot in order to push Miami to give Wade what he wants. With the Lakers having a solid chunk of cap space we can expect plenty of rumors about who could end up in purple and gold between now and when free agency begins on July 1st. While it is technically possible for Wade to sign with the Lakers, take this rumor with a grain of salt for now.