Report: No, LeBron is not actively recruiting Dwyane Wade. And no way LeBron takes minimum to get him.
In Miami, Dwyane Wade is seen as a Heat lifer and the face of the franchise. He stirs passions. Which is why the contract impasse and machinations of his new deal are spawning rumors galore around South Beach. We know that Wade is sitting down with Denver and other teams (Chicago?) on Wednesday in New York, but that feels more like Wade trying to get leverage than a real threat.
The threat that seems to scare Miami fans? Cleveland. LeBron James and Wade have a close relationship — they were just vacationing together on a banana boat in the Mediterranean — and Dan Gilbert will pay the tax if LeBron tells him too. The rumors got to the point of ridiculous: Dan Le Batard suggested in the Miami Herald LeBron could take a minimum deal to get his friend to Cleveland.
Just stop it.
According to sources close to situation, LeBron James is not actively recruiting Dwyane Wade and will NOT take the league minimum.— Ethan J. Skolnick, 5 Reasons Sports (@EthanJSkolnick) July 6, 2016
What I’ve been told: LeBron James will not take the vet minimum in order to facilitate a DWade signing with Cavs. Under any circumstances.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 6, 2016
Currently, the Cavaliers can offer Wade $3.4 million. This is a guy pissed Miami only gave him $40 over two years.
The idea LeBron would take the minimum is flat out silly — LeBron has been positioning himself with short contracts in Cleveland since his return so he could maximize how much money he gets as the salary cap spikes (that plus have leverage on the organization). There is no way he’s throwing that out the window for anyone. Can you imagine the reaction of the players’ union if he suggested it?
And even if LeBron did that, once you figure in the cap holds the Cavaliers would have to trade someone like Iman Shumpert to clear enough cap space to sign Wade to how much money Miami is offering, let alone Denver. Then the Cavaliers couldn’t re-sign J.R. Smith, either. All so that Miami can add another ball-dominating perimeter player that does his best work in isolation? Kevin Love would never see the ball again.
That said, there are reports the Cavaliers may try to meet with Wade.
What is correct in all this is that the Wade/Riley relationship is not the kind of one Tim Duncan has with the Spurs, or Dirk Nowitzki with Mark Cuban. That trust is not there, and Wade feels he’s already taken enough of a haircut for the franchise. There is real tension with Wade and the Heat, the relationship is deteriorating.
But in the end, they may still work out a deal.