Dwyane Wade and the Heat are at a stalemate.
First, Wade must handle his $16,125,000 player option option for next season. The deadline for exercising it is June 29.
Appearing on ABC’s Finals coverage, Wade gave a strong indication of his plan.Wade on ABC, as transcribed by Ira Winderman of the SunSentinel:
“Well, listen, it’s summer time,” Wade said when asked about his contract. “So when summer time and free agency [come together], it’s going to be a lot of talk. And right now, I’m glad that the Finals is going and we’re here.
“And we’ll worry about that in July. Right now, we’re going to focus on these Finals.”
If Wade is worrying about his contract in July, that means he opted out in late June.
Wade previously said he’d opt in, but apparently all bets are off. The Heat want him to opt in, to keep him another year and then worry about him in 2016 along with Hassan Whiteside. Wade could be bluffing to secure a better commitment on his next deal, just as Miami’s lowball offer was probably at least partially intended to convince Wade to opt it.
There could be numerous factors at play, but I think opting out would be a financial mistake for Wade. I doubt he can secure $16,125,000 million on the open market next season, though there are a few positive possibilities:
1. A team – the Heat included – offers a long-term deal worth enough over its life to offset the one-year drop.
2. Miami offers a higher one-year contract as a gesture of good faith and expects Wade to re-sign for less in 2016. The problem with that is Wade would likely perceive such a deal as making good on his previous sacrifices, not setting him up for more. Plus, it would vault the Heat higher into the luxury tax for a team with only an outside shot at best at contending for a title.
3. A team desperate for name recognition – looking at you, Lakers – offers Wade a big contract.
Opting out would create a very intriguing summer for Wade and the Heat. But it would also likely hurt Wade’s bank account.
The safe bet is for Wade to opt in.