The Miami Heat are reportedly not budging on Dwyane Wade’s request of a long-term contract. Instead, the team reportedly wants the veteran guard under contract for only one year so it will have more flexibility the following season to lure Oklahoma City's free-agent-to-be Kevin Durant.
Dan Le Batard, the Heat beat writer for the Miami Herald, talked about the latest in the Heat-Wade drama, which could end with the two parting ways after a dozen years. “The Heat seems to want Wade to opt into his contract for next season at $16 million, then become a free agent and leave their and his future blank-check open. This will give the Heat the flexibility it craves to make a run at a player like Kevin Durant,” Le Batard wrote.
According to multiple reports, Wade wants to opt out of the current contract and then sign a long-term deal with the franchise that drafted him No. 5 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Le Batard’s contention has merit as Durant, who is signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder until 2015-2016, is expected to explore free agency after his current deal.
Wade opting out of the current deal would also favor the Heat, as it would allow the team to chase a star free agent, such as Durant, and offer him a maximum contract and then re-sign the team's own probable free agents -- such as Wade. However, Wade is 33 and most likely on the tail-end of his prime. It is expected that he wants a long-term deal now rather than later for security and insurance. Wade has missed a total 61 games in the last three regular seasons due to various injuries.
Wade’s agent, Henry Thomas, is banking on past success. He and Wade are hoping to convince Heat President Pat Riley and the Miami brass to give the veteran guard the long-term deal he wants.
“With the amount of time he has spent with the organization, every effort will be made to try to work something out. The five times he played for a championship, resulting in three championships, is a significant accomplishment for any professional. We are continuing to talk about a resolution that would be satisfactory to both sides,” Thomas said in a recent statement.
The Heat are expected to retain free agent point guard Goran Dragic in this offseason and center Hassan Whiteside next offseason, in deals that are expected to be lucrative for both players.