Wade stuck on the outside looking in?

Dwyane Wade's declining health has sapped some of his impact on the Heat. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade’s declining health has sapped some of his impact. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – As LeBron James flirts with Cleveland and Chris Bosh gets sweet-talked to leave South Beach for Houston, Dwyane Wade seemingly is left with as little control over the future of the Big Three as he has over his prematurely and chronically achy knees.

If the Heatles do break up after two titles and four trips to the NBA Finals in four seasons, the overriding reason will simply be because Wade broke down. If he’s even close to the same Wade that recruited James and Bosh to Miami four years ago, the Big Three would already be back and the Heat reloading with visions of more titles, while Cleveland would be swooning over the next big thing, Andrew Wiggins, and not now suddenly and breathlessly awaiting reconciliation with their former hometown hero turned villain.

As for Wade, the “Flash” is sadly now more a flash in the pan, his faulty knees robbing him of prime basketball years and possibly now of contending in the years he has left. At age 32 — with knees that suggest his career is much further down the road — Wade stands to be the biggest loser in free agency, a period in which so many believed he, James and Bosh would be back. Of course, they still might.

But if James determines this run is done, he’ll have his choice of teams to transform into instant contenders. Bosh can take the lucrative deal the Rockets reportedly offered him Monday to play with James Harden and Dwight Howard.

But what about Dwyane?

Wade opted out of the final two years and $41.8 million of his contract. Bosh and James opted out of the final two years and $42.7 million of their contracts. Widespread belief held the trio did so to stay together, to rework their deals for additional years but at less money per annum to allow Heat president Pat Riley to refurbish the roster.

Yet reports have suggested that James wants a max deal that would start at more than $20 million. Bosh, reports say, wants in the neighborhood of $80 million and $90 million over five years from Miami and Wade wants between $55 million and $60 million over four years (I suggested Wade’s deal should be four years, $40 million). At those rates, with each knowing the more each took the less would remain for quality reinforcements, the question has to be asked if the Big Three really planned to stay together when they met over a meal prior to free agency or if they actually were saying their goodbyes?

Wade managed to play in just 54 regular-season games last year while adhering to a strict maintenance plan designed to allow him to be at full strength throughout the playoffs. He was still a highly efficient scorer, shooting 54.5 percent while averaging 19.0 ppg on 14.1 field-goal attempts, the lowest total since his rookie season in 2003-04.

But he didn’t play in back-to-back games and missed more games during certain stretches than expected. Wade’s bouncing in and out of the lineup frustrated James, made it impossible to keep a consistent rotation and was likely a significant factor in the Heat’s diminished defensive prowess last season.

In the playoffs, Wade blistered the Pacers for 19.8 ppg on 54.5 percent shooting, but against San Antonio he seemed at a loss to be able shift gears at key times, specifically during the final minutes of Game 1 when the Spurs took control after James left with cramps. In Games 4 and 5, Wade went 7-for-25 from the floor.

It’s difficult to believe Wade won’t be restricted to a similar maintenance program next season. Once a player loses the physical ability that elevated him to superstar status, it typically doesn’t return. That’s the reality Wade and the Heat face.

The season before James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami, the Heat went 47-35 and lost in the first round with a roster that included a younger Udonis Haslem, Michael Beasley in his second season, Quentin Richardson, Jermaine O’Neal, Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers, Rafer Alston and Dorrell Wright.

If James and Bosh elect to go separate ways, upper-tier free agents will begin to be snapped up, and Miami, with only Norris Cole currently under contract (plus first-round pick Shabazz Napier and free agent Josh McRoberts reportedly agreeing to a deal Monday), might be lucky to cobble together a roster as complete as that one in 2009-10.

And Wade, his career now clearly on the down side and his biggest payday still with Miami, could find his fortunes of the last four seasons turned completely upside-down.

79 Comments

  1. WadeFireAgent says:

    D-Wade should FIRE his agent and ANYONE who consulted with him to opt out of $42 MILLION DOLLARS over the next two years, lol. He’s not getting that again. No one see’s Amare opting out in NY anytime soon. You don’t opt out when your maket value is not greater than or equal to your current contract. I mean, it’s not even close for D-Wade! I should be an agent. D-Wade got screwed. Better yet, he screwed himself. Terrible decision. Why would he do that? So LeBron could come back I suppose. But will he? I wouldn’t bet $42 Freakin’ Million Dollars on it. Either D-Wade is a complete idoit, or he knows LeBron is coming back. Time will tell.

  2. Max says:

    Josh McRoberts? A player that is an accident waiting to happen. A very real issue is controlling his temper. Check teams he has played for and the Heat will see, he will NOT be much help for the Heat. the only player worse to have on the floor is Lance Stephson and Stephson can shoot. But oh, these two players????Rather see my competitors with either of these two players to babysit!!!~~

  3. RAMON says:

    I think the media and fans have the fault for LEBRON leaving to MIAMI too play with BOSH, and WADE, cause the media put alot of pressure on him to win championships, and he knew that if he stayed in CLEVELAND it was going to be harder for him to do so, that’s the reason he decided to take less money too go somewhere he thought he had a better chance of winning titles. He’s not the first or last player in the nba to decide to go somewhere else to play. If MELO decides to stay in the KNICKS, do people actually think that is not because of the money he’s getting too stay there. In my opinion, everything would be about the money he’s getting too stay on that team, and not because he really thinks that they could win a title in a year or so.

  4. RAMON says:

    Question? was BIRD, MCHALE, PARRISH, and other really good players they had unfair? Was MAGIC, JABAR, WORTHY, SCOTT, and other really good players they had unfair for other teams? Was JORDAN, PIPPEN, RODMAN, all hall of fame players, unfair for other teams? How come i never hear people complaining about those teams having alot of really good players to win championships. A team doesn’t win championships by only having a couple of superstars , it takes team chemistry to win championships. If that was the case alot of teams in the past that didn’t win would have won easily, for instance the lakers when they brought MALONE, AND PAYTON to play with KOBE, and SHAQ, and they ended up getting wooped by a team that didn’t really have any superstars on the roster, but they did it with team chemistry.

  5. twin says:

    I Am a True LBJ fan so no matter where he decides to play, im good!

  6. C says:

    Bosh is a bandit. He was only getting $20mil/season because he was an essential piece of the Championship trio. He is useless by himself. How are you 6’10″ish and can’t post up – learn some footwork. Wade is more of a post up option for the Heat. It’s one of the reasons they are forced to play “postionless basket ball”.

    Plus Heat Fans are terrible. How are there empty seats in the Finals? Again HOW ARE THERE EMPTY SEATS IN THE FINALS!?
    #SupportYourTeam

  7. Cesco says:

    Or just play point in tenciltown! It can’t get any worse than Steve Nash..

  8. twinm85 says:

    cleveland should have put johnny manziel on that plane with gilbert. if lebron returns to the cavs, he and his buddy can be together every day.

  9. Ellery G says:

    I agree that ‘melo and LBJ have turned the free agent season into a soap opera. I love ‘melo as an individual contributor but this is a team sport as the Spurs so brilliantly proved and he makes no one else on the his team better, The Knicks should let him go or do a sign and trade for Kevin Love. I feel sorry for Wade. He is a great competitor and a fine human being. I would love to see the Knicks get him. Bosh is a much better fit in Houston. McHale is a way better coach than Spoelstra who hasn’t the first clue how to use his players. The Heat succeeded despite him. As for LBJ, CLeveland would welcome him home with open arms and he would cement his legacy with that supporting cast All they would need is a big banger like Kris Humphries and they would rack up at least 3-4 titles.

    • Eddie says:

      No the media has turned this into a soap opera and if you dont’ like it turn off the TV DUH

    • K says:

      Lebron doesn’t have enough time to win 3 – 4 titles with Cleveland because their core players (Kyrie & Wiggins) are to young for Lebron to walk in and start winning championships right away. Kyrie is an up and coming superstar; however, he has no playoff experinence. Wiggins, right now it’s all about his potential you really don’t know what Cleveland is going to get out of him…? It’ll take at least 1 to 2 full seasons playing together and the core players of the San Antonio Spurs to retire before even the great Lebron can start making Cleveland a true contender for an NBA Championship.

  10. pokie says:

    Wade has to accept his new physical limitations. All the great run-and-jump players break down sooner than the less athletic guys (like Paul Pierce). Vince Carter did it. Kobe is on the cusp. I think Wade may be left alone in Miami. He has opted out though. No one is going to pay him what he stood to make on that contract, which bites because he’s more than earned a big payday from the Heat. The Heat will not give him anything close to what he was slated to make on the old contract now. If James and Bosh don’t come bak to Miami, I could see Dwayne playing a Ginobili type role in OKC or Golden State or Memphis or Chicago, basically just about anywhere he wants to next season if he takes the Big Threes demise as an opportunity to move on. Which I think he should. There are more rings out there. Wade would need to move on to get them.

  11. Beedo360 says:

    Wade still can be good just cant slash and finish at the rim like he use to wich means he needs to become a true shooting guard develop a more consistent shot from beyond the arc and become more consistent post player like kobe had to do if he does that he can squeeze about 4 more years out of his career

    • Carlo says:

      Only, he did not want to do it.
      He’s been declining since a few years, not just in the last playoffs. He had lot of time to train his 3pt shot. He did not.
      Today, he’s a 32yo who runs and leaps less than 37yo Ginobili but cannot shoot from long distance.
      If the Heat are available to pay him huge money just for the “history”… well, that’s their money.

  12. Erlo says:

    I would love to see Melo/Lebron/Wade/Love in Miami

    • Carlo says:

      Well, what’s the problem? Just invite them to a big party on the beach – maybe paying them a huge cachet.

      Oh, wait, did you mean PLAYING b’ball? No, surely you cannot be that stupid.

  13. Scisca says:

    If I was LBJ, I’d go back to Cleveland. Kyrie and Wiggins > Wade and Bosh on oh so many levels.

  14. jitsogaini says:

    A guy who averages 19 points and 55 percent from the field should only take 10 million a year??? That’s crazy, If the offense was run through Wade instead of Lebron he could average 25 points a game. Wades knees will be healthier coming back next season, and will be good to go. The person who should take a bigger paycut is Christina Bosh. He’s overrated.

  15. appreciated says:

    Its good to see peoples comments who still respect wade and what he’s doing and what he has done for Miami. His ppg is down..SO WHAT! BFD. When hes still shooting over 50 percent and averaging just under 20 a game while still recovering from tendinitis, then that’s a super star who understands what a team needs and does it for them

    • Carlo says:

      If he was all what you said, he’d be training his 3pt shot as other intelligent old players did (e.g. Kidd) in order to compensate the decline in in-the-paint offense.
      It seems he did not care.
      Maybe he’s resting on his laurels and counting on the “respect” he gets from fans like you.
      Well, better for him – less stress and training – and worse for the team.

  16. Dadudefrommk says:

    i think the big 3 will stay in Miami.

    Next seasons team might look like this;
    Lebron
    Wade
    Bosh
    Ray Allen
    Danny
    Roberts
    cole
    Bird
    Deng
    Lewis
    Mario
    Napier
    UD
    Oden
    Beasley

  17. Pancake says:

    Go DWade. #3 #stillflashin. #WoW

  18. Denver says:

    To lebron and melo, stop being ratchet and get it over with. you are athletes not soap drama celebrities.

  19. Vicente martinez says:

    What if these 3 guys are just BS’ing everyone by talking to teams and making the leagues top teams to wave players and making teams weak? Just a thought.

  20. Steve says:

    I am a basketball fan. So I keep coming back to read things, but wow…
    These writers have no clue what so ever…
    I can’t believe they make a living out of this.
    1. A guy averaging 19.9 ppg and over 50% on the floor is not worth 10 mil a year in NBA?
    Ya sure he lost a lot by getting old, and he looked windy in the finals, but give the guy a break.
    He was playing terrific on the prior series. Spurs just had the way with the heat. Including lebron. Most of his points came after being down 20 pts and the game was pretty much a blow out.
    check the following video :

    2. “Wade’s bouncing in and out of the lineup frustrated James, made it impossible to keep a consistent rotation and was likely a significant factor in the Heat’s diminished defensive prowess last season.”
    What source is he talking about here? They still made to the finals with very good season record.
    And the Heat’s defense did not diminish because Wade was in and out.
    They play the same press ball style, and good teams like the Spurs just found the way to get around them as you saw on the finals. If you know anything about team basketball, you wouldn’t make comments like this.

  21. Matthew says:

    If Wade is reading this he should watch this link and at the end of it he should not have to worry or depend on anyone. Once you’ve done something before you’ll be able to do it again and sometimes you can surprise yourself everytime you do it

  22. swingman says:

    wade is getting old!!!! he’s not the same player…his game is just gonna deteriorate like kobe……..he’s gonna retire a heat but lebron and bosh won’t be there with him

  23. kooldaddy says:

    home boy be careful you call friends

  24. RH says:

    Wade is the best SG in this FA. He can command contract worth 10 million cents.

  25. lh says:

    there’s a lot of players who wish to play like the greater D-Wade. in Miami we love D-Wade, Lebron and Bosh. I hope those 3 super stars stay together. “let’s go HeaT”

  26. jcornette says:

    I rather see the best play against each other not on the same team.

  27. james cole says:

    big 3 will be back , trevor arize and or paul gasol will join them right after they sign , ray allen and bird man will be onboard too and miami would be good for another 4 years . im 90% sure

  28. james cole says:

    miami fans in panic mood

  29. Zak says:

    Bosh leaves for Houston. Riley signs Melo.

  30. Ro says:

    If melo doesnt go to chicago then wade to chicago? I think he will be in good company there

  31. Cai says:

    first of all, I wanna say d-wade, u r the best. When i heard LBJ opted out, i laughed and said it that time again. Until i heard this saying that big-3 opted out for better heat team. I was like: sounds good. But yet, none of them (especially LBJ) have made a decision. I m not a heat fan, rather a LBJ hater. but i like loyalty, like Dirk did with the Mavs, and Duncan did with the spurs. I would 100% agree that players go for money most of the time; and plays have the right to aim for a better future. However, what LBJ has done seems to be not right to me. and still, the heat would be a good team with the big-3. if they want to win an other championship, all they need to do is get a bit less money enable the team to have more cap room. i m not saying that is what they have to do. but it just feels right to me. and they dont need that much money, right?
    i m just a NBA fan who love the NBA so much. best to d-wade! he is still a very good play.

    • Taylor says:

      “All they need to do is take less money”

      You do realize that they would in essence be buying themselves a championship right? What kind of sport play is that? Winners should win because they play the hardest and smartest, not because they take a pay cut so they can play with the best players and beat up easily on the little guys. Miami and the Spurs both did it…hmm look who were in the playoff finals this year…..wonder why The NBA needs to implement a team proficiency/skill cap on top of the salary cap, lets bring fair competitiveness back to the NBA!!!

      Big 3 are pathetic

      • Carlo says:

        proficiency/skill cap? Are you kidding? Why not putting a height limit to 5’6″ so that I can play too?

        Anyway, tell me what a “skill cap” would be like? If a player is good you must waive him? Or nobody can shoot more than x% or make more than y PPG? And what about defense (considering that nobody has been able to measure it yet)?

        That’s the stupidest thing I read.

      • I M My Own Fan says:

        Skill Cap? WTF is that? 5 positions, with 1 player doing all the dribbling, 1 with all the rebounding, 1 with all the scoring, 1 with all the steals and the last one will be all the FLOPPING?

        THE DUMBEST COMMENT got to come from Taylor

        Yeah right!!! Skills cap!!!

    • asdf says:

      You do realize that lebron has never taken max money?

      He sacrifised money in cleveland and he sacrifised money in miami.

      And he is the best player in the world, why shouldnt he get payed like one? Players is taking less these days while the owners get alot ritcher. why cant the owners sacrifise a little and go over the luxury tax?

    • Eddie says:

      SHUT UP Cai

  32. Mitra says:

    Wade is a great person who tried to keep Heat as a championship contender in 2014-15 by foregoing his guaranteed money through opting out of contract.

    But LBJ and Bosh might have other ideas over which he didn’t have control.

    Whatever be the outcome of free-agencies this time, Wade will always be remembered as one of the greatest and loyal players in NBA history with three championship rings.

    • Carlo says:

      Wade has done the same as LBJ and Bosh. Nothing more. And he’s the weakest of the three and that with the least market value.
      So, no hero. Just intelligent enough (it doesn’t take a genius) to understand that only paycuts can give the Heat a bit of chance to win again.
      And he knows that he can win again only with them.

      BTW, his dressing code is a shame for the human race and his pictures out of the court uniform should be banned by censorship for being detrimental to young generations’ taste. (I’d rather say this with more precise words but I wanted to stay soft).

      • Really? says:

        Weakest of the big 3? Least market value? Before James and Bosh joined Miami, Wade was the leading the league with 30.1 PPG! And still with his career declining was shooting over 53 percent from the floor last season. He knows how to differ and when he is healthy, he is close to unstoppable. Would be unstoppable if his knees we’re like 6 years ago. And least market value. Have you seen how many commercials D-Wade has been on in the last 2 years?!?! Haven’t seen Bosh on anything ! D-Wade could get a good contract with Chicago or going back to the Heat, but he possibly could get spurned this year by James and Bosh. My though, Wade’s value in Free Agency based on team needs throughout the league may be low, but he sure as hell isn’t the weakest of the Big 3.

  33. rhehqth says:

    He’s still averaging more points than Bosh LOL

    • Common people says:

      He averaged 19ppg in like 30 mins.

      Thats his career numbers per 48.

      His efficiency is unbelievable. Sure he doesnt dunk like he did.
      Miami’s problems were that other then the 3 ….they had nothing at all

      PG is pathetic, C is pathetic, Bench is pathetic.

      Big 3 still amazing. lets be honest, its not wade

      • THE ICEMAN says:

        Then why don’t they just build a complete team like the Spurs instead of trying to habor only the top players in the league and a bunch of flunkys. Their own fault. If they were to dump Wade, they could sign Pual Gasol (a center), Lou Dang and still have enough money for a good point guard.

  34. Yossi says:

    I hope wade reads this. Because he’s going to need to re invent himself (way thinner). But regardless I think wade doesnt ows anyone a damn thing. If King James didn’t go to miami he would still be a champion, 08 scoring title and finals MVP and he still would have been the best slasher in nba history and a payer who other great players model there game after. Wade is one of the best players of this generation. He’s Alonzo mourning if zo was a guard on defense and on offense he’s the only player with power stearing in the nba. Maybe wade today is a little slower on some days and mabe wade is held out of games. And I even agree wade wasn’t good in the finals. But wade with bad knees is still an allstar with intangibles that plays both ends of the ball when not crying to the refs.

  35. Patty says:

    Lebron should be ashamed of himself. Lebron is messing over Wade and Chris Bosh. Chris can do better with other teams than Dwayne Wade!

    • Eddie says:

      Patty that is the stupdest thing I have heard! Lebron is not messing over anybody. What a MORON you are if anything Lebron has carreid these two for the past two years! Get over it

    • Eddie says:

      IDIOT

  36. Jeff says:

    LBJ….where fore out thou. Surely you want to comment on this or are you waiting to see where LeBron ends up. I thought everyone had to come to Miami for the next ring……Not looking so good now. Or are you changing teams Hahahahahahahaha

  37. harrythehawk says:

    The article referred to Lebron, Wade and Fish Bosh as the Heatles? That’s kinda amusing.

  38. bigdoy11 says:

    The wedding is off for wade, gadriel is now dating Mario charmler

  39. 16oz says:

    I believe he opted out because he wanted to take less paycheck so the Heat can make a room for LBJ and some other core players.

  40. Reader says:

    19.00 ppg with hurting knees with Bosh and James in starting lineup? Really?
    And you think Wade is done? lolz

  41. Money man of N.O. says:

    D Wade made a horrible decision to opt out when considering his health, age, and salary. Sometimes a player must be his own agent like Ray Allen.

  42. pacersbandwagon says:

    if the big 3 split up if i was wade i go to a contender

  43. hey i still like wade

  44. johnny dawson says:

    Maybe Wade wishes now he had not opted out and forgone all that guaranteed money.

  45. Praice says:

    A lot of talk just to fill the blogs in nba site… at the end it´s James, Bosh and Wade together.