Doing nothing to diffuse speculation that he would like a buyout from the Chicago Bulls, former Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he would like to play for a championship contender before his career is over.
Wade is under contract to the Bulls at $24 million this coming season but reportedly isn’t eager to play there because the Bulls are rebuilding after trading his close friend, Jimmy Butler, to Minnesota.
ESPN reported recently that LeBron James’ associates believe Wade will sign with Cleveland if he reaches a buyout with the Bulls. A Wade associate told me last week that Miami and Los Angeles also would hold appeal to him.
The Heat would be interested in Wade under certain circumstances, including if he agrees to a bench role and if he would be willing to play for Miami’s $4.3 million exception.
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While not naming any other teams besides Chicago, NBA TV’s David Aldridge asked Wade what his preference would be.
“First of all, obviously, everyone wants to compete,” Wade said. “It’s no secret. We would all love to compete for a championship at the end of my career. That is one thing I would love to do. I’m not in a position right now to do that, so I can’t talk about what that preference is. Hopefully, one day before I’m done playing this game, I can be back in position to compete for a championship.”
Aldridge asked whether it’s fair to say he will report to the Bulls and provide leadership but “in a perfect world” would “be back on another team that can compete.”
Responded Wade: “Definitely, definitely. It’s no secret. And everyone knows that. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been to five Finals. So If I never go to another one, I can’t complain. But I would love to. I would love to, because I feel I can add to something a team that’s in that position. That’s not something I can focus on or something I can worry about right now.”
Wade’s comments suggest that Cleveland might have an edge over Miami if Wade gets a Bulls buyout. Vegasinsider.com has the Cavaliers with 4 to 1 odds to win the championship — behind only Golden State — and the Heat at 100 to 1.
Asked whether he wants a buyout, Wade said: “What’s funny is I haven’t said anything. … There’s a reason for that. I’m not about the going back and forth. A lot of people make it that way. I’m not about the going back and forth. When the time is right for me and the Chicago Bulls to sit down and talk about the future, we will do that. The time hasn’t been right, obviously, to this point. But I will be in Chicago soon enough, and hopefully we get an opportunity to sit down and talk about the future and the direction and go from there. I’m 35 years old. I’m a grown man. I can definitely sit across the room from you and listen to your truth and hopefully hear mine and go from there.”
When Aldridge asked what team he will be playing for in November, Wade said: “Training camp is coming up, and I’m preparing for training camp. I’m under contract with the Bulls right now, and that’s what I’m preparing for. The future, you don’t worry about it too much. … My job is to prepare for being the best Dwyane Wade at the age of 35 that I can be, and everything else will take care of itself.”
Wade made his comments on a night during which he received the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award.