Everybody wins, but not quite equally, in the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade agreeing to the one-year contract that will pay him $20 million this coming season.
Wade wins, yes. He gets a tidy raise from the $16.1 million he was due to make before opting out of his old contract – a raise allowing him to save face after finding a soft free agent market left him little choice but to re-up with Miami. Wade also gets to be the ultimate team player sacrificing for the basketball family (again) by giving the Heat more financial flexibility moving forward than if he’d signed a longer contract.
Miami fans win, of course. They get the comforting stability of keeping a beloved and still-valuable starting player, a franchise icon, for at least another year.
The Heat wins most of all, though. Miami and Pat Riley get to keep the player who finished third in the NBA Eastern Conference in scoring last season while avoiding the public-relations nightmare of seeing Wade leave Miami acrimoniously because of a perceived unfair, lowball offer. And they get to keep their options open. A year from now, the Heat will decide again whether to keep Wade (likely at a reduced rate) or invest that money in a big play for Kevin Durant.
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Plainly, the one-year deal is better for Miami than for Wade. Wade, 33, doesn’t get the long-term security and late-career golden parachute he wanted, while the Heat maintains the flexibility on the business end. Riley wins.
A year from now, if after a healthy, productive season, Wade may have proved he is worth another sizable contract offer. But that decision will be Miami’s, not Wade’s.
The deal struck is classic compromise, Wade getting the big money, now, the team keeping its options moving forward, and both sides able to agreeably smile as if this is what each wanted all along.
By the way, when I found out early Thursday evening that Wade had re-upped, my first thought was, “What, they couldn’t have waited a day to announce it?” Seriously.
Such timing. Poor Marlins!
On the very day pitcher Jose Fernandez makes his long-awaited and triumphant return from Tommy John surgery at packed Marlins Park, the big-foot Heat play a trump card by re-signing Wade. Hey, who said life was fair, right?
Before we end, a quick aside on LaMarcus Aldridge. Riley reportedly flew to have dinner with him in Los Angeles on Thursday night. We all know Riley is a magician, but how can Miami find a way to sign the NBA’s No. 1 might-really-leave-his team free agent? And still keep the financial flexibility to pursue Durant in 2016? Oh, almost forgot. Don’t Aldridge and Chris Bosh play the same role?
I love Riley living large, loving a splash, dreaming big. I love the Heat’s Godfather preening, flexing muscles and aura. But let’s not start believing Aldridge might actually happen just yet, OK?
Don’t get greedy, Heat fans.
In the past few days alone Miami has kept Luol Deng, who opted in, and then kept Goran Dragic, who agreed to a new long-term deal, and now keeps Wade, at least for another year.
That’s a pretty good week.