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The Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as clear favorites to land newly minted free agent Dwyane Wade, after he agreed to a buyout agreement with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, sources told

Wade agreed to leave about $8 million of his $23.8 million salary on the table after talks between the two sides about a resolution intensified ahead of Monday’s start of training camp.

Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout that seemed inevitable since the turn of the new year.
Wade has a long-standing relationship with LeBron James, who attempted to recruit Wade to Cleveland last summer, but the Cavs didn’t have salary-cap space at the time. James and Wade have kept in touch this summer about Wade’s options, sources said.

In addition to the Cavs, the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are contenders for Wade once his buyout becomes official, sources said. Wade also has a close relationship with Carmelo Anthony, who will officially become a member of the Thunder on Monday.

Wade, speaking to the AP on Sunday night, indicated that he might decide his next move quickly.

“I’m going to take tonight and some of tomorrow and speak to the teams or players that are on my list and go from there,” Wade said. “My decision is a pure basketball decision, and I’ll make the one that fits me best at this point in my career and with what I feel I have to offer a team that needs what I have to offer.”

He also tweeted his thanks to Chicago and its fans.

A Dream was fulfilled!!! Thank you Chicago!!!

Last week, Heat president Pat Riley hinted at the team’s desire to bring Wade back: “Anything that happens from a personnel standpoint down the road or any opportunities that are there, we’re always going to approach that,” Riley said about Wade.

Among Wade’s expected suitors, the Heat currently would have the most money available to offer, at $4.2 million. The Spurs have $3.3 million, and the Cavs have $2.5 million. The Thunder could offer only the minimum salary, which is $2.3 million. It would be most costly for the Cavs, as they would pay $10.5 million in luxury tax if they added Wade.

Dwyane Wade is expected to choose from a group of suitors that includes Cleveland, San Antonio and Miami once his contract buyout becomes official, according to sources. Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports
The Bulls were motivated to work out a deal with Wade as they begin a rebuilding phase. The team signaled a shift by trading away Jimmy Butler in June and then electing not to re-sign Rajon Rondo.

Chicago had reason to still give Wade roughly $15 million of his salary for the season, as they are still below the mandated salary floor. Earlier Sunday, the team agreed to a new contract with free agent Nikola Mirotic.

Wade averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 60 games last season.

Front-office insider Bobby Marks contributed to this article.



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