Another shocking development has happened in 2016 free agency. The Chicago Bulls are going to sign Dwyane Wade to a contract, as long as the Bulls can find homes for Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy in trades to clear cap space. The Miami Heat free agent has been in a stalemate with the Heat during negotiations, and decided to call Pat Riley’s bluff by taking a deal with another team.
The deal is reported to be two years and $47.5 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical.
In a letter released to the Associated Press on Wednesday, Wade says: “This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice.”
The Bulls have now added Wade and Rajon Rondo in free agency to join Jimmy Butler and form a trio that could possibly draw free agents in 2017, while remaining fairly competitive in an attempt to get back to the NBA playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bulls are clearing necessary cap space for Wade by way of trades. According to Woj, Chicago will send Mike Dunleavy to Cleveland, while the Lakers will acquire Jose Calderon.
1. The fits with Rondo, Wade and Fred Hoiberg’s system are definitely a bit confusing.
Under Hoiberg, the Bulls were supposed to play fast and shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Now they have two starting guards who want to play slow and aren’t 3-point shooters. Aside from a random flurry of outside makes against the Charlotte Hornets in the playoffs, Wade is historically one of the worst 3-point shooters the league has seen. Rajon Rondo just set career highs in both 3-point makes (62) and percentage (36.5 percent). Last season, the Bulls were 24th in 3-point attempts but were third in percentage. The percentage is sure to drop, unless they find big roles for Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott.
The pace of the game will be tough too. Bulls were middle of the road at 15th in tempo, but Rondo and Wade historically want to play a much slower pace. Rondo’s time with the Boston Celtics often involved slower-paced teams and the Heat couldn’t really play the up-tempo style they wanted to play last season when Wade was in the game. How does Hoiberg get them to play fast when the starting backcourt is 30 (Rondo) and 34 (Wade)? According to the SportsLine projection model, the impact of Wade joining Chicago is worth just around a 1/2 win for the Bulls. Not a big difference, but any additional help in the competitive East will matter.
2. The Bulls are banking on Wade being able to attract free agents.
A big part of this move for the Bulls is using a big name like Wade to recruit free agents in 2017. The Bulls are hoping to be major players in 2017 when Russell Westbrook could be the top get on the market. Wade is in his mid-30s and he hasn’t been a consistent player over the years due to injuries. It seems risky to bank your star power in recruiting with Wade, but pairing him with Butler is a pretty good combination for name recognition. And Wade has had success in the past with getting players to come to his team.
Finding a way to get him to recruit the next Big Decision may be too optimistic, but the Bulls’ front office will at least win the press conference, which is often their goal, this time around.
3. The Heat will probably match the offer sheet of Tyler Johnson.
Now that the Heat don’t have to do these cap space gymnastics with getting Wade’s cap hold figured out before re-signing Hassan Whiteside, they should have the flexibility to match the offer sheet to Tyler Johnson, which is for four years and $50 million. The Brooklyn Nets agreed to the deal with the restricted free agent earlier in the week, and will hope the Heat don’t want to commit the cap space to him over the next four years. It’s a small deal now but balloons in years 3 ($18.9M) and 4 ($19.6M) in what they have to pay him. That could be enough for Riley to keep out of matching to retain flexibility.
However, the Heat believe Johnson is a player they would like to keep in the organization.
4. The Heat might be Hassan Whiteside’s team now.
The reports right before the free agency madness started had the Heat pitching Chris Bosh as healthy and ready to play next season. That seemed to be very different from a month or two ago when there were rumors that Bosh could be someone the Heat try to convince to retire due to the blood clots he has dealt with the past two years. That would eventually provide some relief for the Heat in money committed to their cap in 2017.
If Bosh really isn’t able to play and Hassan Whiteside doesn’t pull a DeAndre Jordan on the Heat, then is Whiteside the star of the Heat? Is that a position and role the Heat are prepared to give him? Or would they make Goran Dragic the main guy and try to keep building that chemistry between him and Whiteside on the pick-and-roll? Dragic usually had good chemistry with Bosh and Wade clicked the best with Whiteside, but that will have to change moving forward.
Courtesy: CBS Sports