Easily the worst kept secret beside LeBron James imminent move from Cleveland Cavaliers to Los Angeles Lakers is Dwayne Wade’s move out of Chicago. The long time NBA star is at the exit door of the six time Champions due to a contrast in direction since the Bulls have plunged deep into rebuild while Flash is in the twilight of his career and plans to end it well without blowouts and losing streaks.
Only a year after a glorious homecoming, Wade is set to feature for another team next season since his $20+ million salary goes against what the Bulls hierarchy is trying to avoid. Take out the 14 year veteran’s salary out and Center Robin Lopez’ $13 million deal ranks as the highest on the roster.
Trading All Star Jimmy Butler for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen and letting Rajon Rondo walk as a free agent, Chicago’s hierarchy has finally accepted its fate as a rebuilding team a year after attempting to jettison into a contender by signing Wade and Rondo. To get rid of Wade, the team must buy him out of his contract.
Though Chicago must fill the space on the salary sheet to meet the NBA’s $89 million salary base despite the inevitable business move, building for the future means the Bulls get to allocate big salary to a younger player likely to stick around for a while rather than a grumpy old vet.
Reports suggest Wade is eyeing a reunion with Miami Heat since his children have started school in the city he called home for 13 years. Others report Cleveland is in the hunt as the 2016 Champions look to pair James and Wade for another title run after the first run ended up in two Championship parades. Despite little or no reported interest, San Antonio Spurs looks like the best spot for Dwayne Wade to possibly play out the final chapter in his storied career. Here are reasons why Wade should choose San Antonio:
Wade has won three NBA titles which should be enough to check back in a lazy chair and stroll the last days of his career. However, winning is infectious and that is the reason Wade has been linked to teams with winning prospects next season. In San Antonio, Wade is assured of at least 65 wins next season due to the distinguished environment created by Gregg Popovich. While this statement rings true in Cleveland, the Cavs cannot be trusted to beat pre season favorite Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
On the other hand, the Spurs are built to neutralize Warriors threat; keep in mind how Golden State fared before Kawhi Leonard went down with an ankle injury in last season’s Conference Finals. Irrespective of improved rosters in the Western Conference, San Antonio and the Warriors are set for a Finals rematch and the addition of Wade’s 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists gives Spurs an edge.
Prolong his career
One thing about professional athletes is the pleasure they get in being relevant in the sport they choose; that is the reason why many fight off retirement for as long as they can. San Antonio has demonstrated over the years it is the best place for old heads to show the younger generation a thing or two about the game. The Spurs know how to take care of old guys like Wade by staggering minutes played and putting them in a system that minimizes strain on the body. Ginobili played almost 19 minutes per game last season while Wade played almost 30 minutes in Chicago.
That is a lot of minutes for an injury plagued Guard who will be 36 come January 2018. Popovich’s system will utilize Wade to get limited minutes but major impact production same way Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, before his injury, did last season. Using Ginobili at certain points in games has only added to the legend of the Argentine with his game saving block on James Harden bound to stay long in fans memory and Wade can benefit from such alterations.
Chance to end alongside an all time great
Kawhi is pacing hard and fast to basketball immortality and should he continue improving on the offensive end, will go down as one of the best players ever. The best part is Leonard doesn’t need the ball to make an impact. Throughout his 14 year stay in the league, Wade has been surrounded by legendary figures including Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Irving’s trade to Boston Celtics and Isaiah Thomas’ possible no show this season complicates matters and Hassan Whiteside has a very long way to establish his legacy.
Throw in the possibility of topping the Kawhi cake with coaching lessons from Popovich and it is hard to argue against a Wade-San Antonio combo.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter