Dwyane Wade, the veteran Miami Heat guard, is expected to take a pay cut next season so the team can re-sign center Hassan Whiteside and pursue superstar free agent Kevin Durant, per NBA Rumors.
Wade signed a one-year deal worth $20 million last season with the intention to sign a new deal this forthcoming offseason. Normally, Wade wouldn’t be required to take a pay cut since Miami own his Bird Rights. However, since they don’t own Whiteside’s Bird Rights, Wade would need to help Pat Riley & Co. work around the delicate cap space situation to bring back the shot-blocking center.
Healthiest season since 2010…
This season, Wade is on track to play 75 games after missing a total of 48 games over the last two seasons. Having suffered from severe knee injuries, this is the healthiest Wade has been in years. In fact, the 34-year-old looks so strong that Riley mentioned the idea of him “playing until 40″.
Riley was joking, right? “Pat’s been saying that for a long time now. No, I don’t (see that). But when I first came in the league I thought I was only going to play 10 years and I thought that was going to be enough for me. I told everybody around me I was going to play until I was 31. But I’m not thinking about playing until 40, no way, no how at this point,” the former 3-time NBA champion told PalmBeachPost.com in an interview.
Back to title contention…
If Riley’s offseason vision comes to fruition, Miami’s starting lineup for 2016-17 could feature Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Durant, Wade and Goran Dragic. With that squad, Miami will begin the new season as the favorites to come out of the East and possibly challenge the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors for the championship.
According to Wade, the thought of retirement hasn’t crossed his mind. “I go out there each year and try to do what I can within that season and I’m gonna try to do that until I don’t want to do that no more,” the former Finals MVP said Sunday. “If God continues to bless me where I’m able to have the health to play, then I will do it. When I feel like I don’t want to do it no more, hopefully I can walk away from it when that time comes,” added the future Hall of Famer.
Loving the new-look squad…
Even though Heat (40-29) have had an up-and-down season, they are looking good to lock up the No. 3 seed in the East and have the best shot at defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. “But I’m enjoying it, man. I really like this team. I really like the vibe that we’re building in the city of Miami. No complaints here,” said Wade, who scored the 20,000th point of his career during the Heat’s win over Cleveland on Saturday.
Wade said he wants to emulate Tim Duncan and take a lesser role going forward. “I don’t have the big ego to say, ‘I’ll never do this or never do that. I mean, I don’t have to. If it comes to that point, I could just say I’m done. But I don’t have that big of an ego to say that (I wouldn’t take a lesser role).”
If anyone can convince Wade to take a pay cut for the betterment of the tea, it’s Pat Riley.
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