Tensions have gone from heated to boiling between Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls.
Wade, a Chicago native, had dreams of playing professional ball growing up in the Windy City, and he was able to fulfill those dreams when he landed with the team in 2016. Even after the team collapsed in a close playoff series with the Boston Celtics, he was open to returning for another season, assuming the team planned on competing for a championship.
According to Wade, per Hoops Hype’s Alex Kennedy, the player was given the impression by the front office that the Bulls were looking to keep the core team together, which included three-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler. Those assurances were enough to persuade Wade to opt in for another year on a $23.8 million salary.
Why wouldn’t he want to stay with the Bulls?
They won the first couple of playoff games against the Celtics on the road. If not for an injury to Rajon Rondo, they could have won the series and made a deep playoff run. They weren’t necessarily a great team in the regular season, but things started to come together enough late in the year for Wade to see some potential in keeping it going for at least another year.
Obviously, the Bulls didn’t feel the same way. Shortly after Wade opted in, they waived Rondo and traded Butler away to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a draft pick and young assets.
Wade is stuck on a team that already wasn’t particularly good last season and is now going to be in full rebuilding mode. It leaves him and his overpriced contract out in the cold. There obviously isn’t any place for him on a young team with no chance of competing in the playoffs.
The Bulls could have saved themselves from this whole mess if they just would have been straight with Wade from the beginning. Their decision to move on Butler in particular isn’t a spur of the moment thing. It was something that had to be weighing on the organization well after the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Wade is left on team that wants him just about as much as he wants them. There is no mending these fences. ESPN’s Nick Friedell recently reported that the young players on the Bulls weren’t particularly fond of having him as a teammate. Given the way the contract situation has played out, there is no going back, and a buyout is inevitable.
To think, it all could have been avoided with better communication.
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