The Los Angeles Lakers and Dwyane Wade have mutual interest in teaming up, depending on how Wade resolves his contract dispute with the Miami Heat -- the only team for which Wade has played during his NBA career. The three-time NBA champion has until the end of the month to decide if he will exercise his player option and forgo the final year in his roughly $16 million deal to chase a longer contract, possibly be his last.
With the Lakers armed with more than $25 million in cap space, they could add Wade to a roster that already includes Kobe Bryant.
While many execs still see Wade/Heat as contract saber rattling, a Wade option will be the Lakers. Mutual interest, per league sources.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 21, 2015
The Lakers are caught between maximizing the final years of Bryant’s illustrious career and rebuilding, armed with the No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft in Brooklyn, New York. The franchise is looking to nab Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns to pair him up with Julius Randle and parade an all-Kentucky frontcourt. The team also is expected to not pick up the team option for Jordan Hill’s final year, worth $9 million, and forgo keeping point guard Jeremy Lin, thus freeing up additional cap space.
Signing Wade would add another big name to the franchise, but it is unclear whether grabbing the 11-time All-Star would improve the team’s chances in the competitive Western Conference.
The Heat, on the other hand, have prioritized locking up the services of point guard Goran Dragic, whom they acquired during the trade deadline for future picks and cap relief. Team President Pat Riley has reportedly offered Dragic $80 million spread over five years to entice the player to stay in South Beach. The negotiations with Wade have been kept under wraps, with some earlier reports revealing that the initial offer given to arguably the best player in franchise history was only in the range of $10 million to $12 million annually.
Wade, when healthy, was very effective in the recently concluded season, after averaging 21 points in the 62 games he played. He also registered an impressive Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 21 in the nightly 32 minutes he was on the floor for coach Erik Spoelstra’s team.