According to sources, after sacrificing salary to bring LaBron James to the heat, and sacrificing again last year to give the Heat some salary cap flexibility, Wade felt that it was time for his long time team to give him what he was due. Wade demanded a 2-year, $50 million deal. The Heat offered 2-years, $40 million.
Heat President Pat Riley was in a tough situation. The 13 years of wear and tear on Wade’s body has been showing in recent years and, though still somewhat effective, he’ definitely on the decline. According to sources, Riley’s offered to Wade was the remainder of the Heat’s salary cap availability.
Wade knew that the Heat had targeted Kevin Durant as a possible free agent pick up this summer. Wade also knew that the team would have to move some contracts and players to make the cap room for Durant. Wade wanted toe Heat to do the same thing for him.
Wade met with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets in New York on Monday. Chicago, Wade’s hometown, offered a two-year, $47 million package from the Bulls, roughly $7 million more than the Heat had on the table. Wade will have a player option for the seeding year of the deal and could return to free-agency.
“This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice for myself and my family,” Wade wrote in a letter to Miami, released to The Associated Press.
Riley Texted this statement to ESPN’s Dan LeBatard:
“SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”