“There’s so many different variables that come into play, especially for me at this point in my career,” Wade said after his exit meeting with the Bulls’ front office. “Like I said, I have a great luxury. I don’t need to ring-chase, but I can. It’s a great luxury to have if I want to do.
“Or I can be a part of passing down my knowledge to younger players. It’s either way. Whatever I decide, I’m going to embrace whatever role I have on a team. That’s sometimes being the second option. Sometimes I’m going to be the first. And sometimes this season, I had to be the third or fourth. It all changes, and you want to be the best at whatever role is presented to you. I’ve always been that way. It won’t change. That will always be me.”
Wade signed with the Bulls last summer after spending the first 13 seasons with the Miami Heat. Wade averaged 18.3 points this season but was mostly a non-factor in the Bulls’ first-round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics, going 1-for-10 in Game 6 on Friday night. Wade said that he would take some time for himself and then would connect with Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson in a few weeks to discuss which direction the organization would go in the future. Many people within the organization privately believe that Wade will decide to pick up the option because it’s highly unlikely he will get a comparable offer for next season.
“Myself, Gar, Pax, once they get all their information together, in the sense of direction of where they see the organization going, and who they see as a part of it, etcetera,” Wade said. “Just sit down and go from there. Same way you do when you decide to come and be a part of something. You sit down, you talk about it, and it’s the same way. I’m sure it will be a few weeks when they get all the information they need and they put the draft hat on, and all the other things together. At some point we will sit down and talk, and I’ll see what direction they’re going in, and then we’ll make a decision.”
Wade noted that he felt in conversations with Forman and Paxson that the pair wanted to have a more-defined direction moving forward. Wade said earlier in the season that he didn’t want to play with a bunch of younger players at this point in his career and that he wanted to see what the Bulls decided regarding potentially moving Butler or not this summer, but the 35-year-old walked those comments back a little bit on Saturday.
“It is a Dwyane Wade decision,” Wade said. “Jimmy is a huge component in me being here and what’s his future like, but at the end of the day it’s a me decision. It is a Dwyane Wade decision at the end of the day, but everyone knows Jimmy’s my guy. I’m here because of our conversation. But a lot of it depends on the whole big picture and not just one piece. Jimmy is a big piece, but it’s a big picture. As an organization, just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page.”
Wade has said that his family is comfortable in Chicago and that will play a role in his decision as well, but he tried to brush off the notion that all signs pointed to him picking up the option and coming back to the Bulls next season.
“I don’t know,” Wade said. “I don’t really go with the signs. I’m not a predictable person I don’t think. But I don’t know, it’s not a bad thing for me. I’m in a good situation, whether there’s a lot of options or not. I’m in a very good situation to where as a player you can decide what you want to do. And I have a lot of money to decide whether I want to take it or not. It’s not a bad thing — because I’ve worked my butt off for it over my career. But no rush in my mind. I don’t have to think about that right now. I got at least a month before my mind starts going there. So I’m just going to get away and let my hair grow a little bit, get a tan.”
Wade said his experience in Chicago was “different” than it had been after his time in Miami, but he doesn’t regret his decision to leave the Heat.
“Obviously, it was different,” Wade said. “If I could say anything, one word I could pull out, it’s just ‘different,’ as I expected to be different. Only playing in one organization my whole career [prior to this season]. The biggest thing, I came here and I was embraced, not only by the city. Up top, I was embraced by the coaches, the players, and it was some good moments and bad moments. Just like every season. But I don’t regret my decision at all.
“Losing, it’s never easy. Especially when you’ve won championships before, whenever you lose, it always sucks. But you sit back, you reflect, you look on the positives, you look on things that came out of it. And it’s always some good, more than bad, when you’re playing the game of basketball for money at the top level. It’s not all bad no matter what happens. So I definitely don’t regret my decision of being here.”
When Wade signed with Chicago, there was speculation that he would help the Bulls recruit in the future, but when asked about that possibility on Saturday, Wade was noncommittal.
“I don’t know,” Wade said. “It happened in a time in Miami where it just so happened that one of my good friends is one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball, on the planet. And something great happened out of it. That was then and this is now. It was a different time, but it’s all about the picture that’s presented to everyone here and what the goal and what the future is going to look like. And it’s not just about, ‘Oh, well, we have Dwyane.’ Dwyane isn’t going to play that much longer, not forever. So it’s a different time, a different situation.”
Wade later noted in his comments that if he did come back, and he felt the Bulls were headed in the right direction, he would still be comfortable having those recruiting conversations if needed.
“Yeah, if I feel the direction is going in a way that I want a guy to come,” Wade said. “When I did that the first time, [the message] was come and be a part of [a championship]. It was let’s win championships. I don’t want to tell somebody to come here just to come here because I need a friend. If you feel that the team is put in a position that that person or two people can help take you to that next level, then, yeah, I will make that call. But I’m not making a call just to make a call. I wouldn’t do that.”