There are some things in life that just seem unimaginable. In the NBA stratosphere, seeing Dwyane Wade in another jersey other than the Miami Heat may be one of those unimaginable things. However, when sources from ESPN reported Tuesday night that the initial contract talks between Wade and the Heat stalled due to not finding a common ground, some speculation started to arise. Obviously, the same thing happened last summer when the Heat and Wade took a little longer than both sides would have liked before agreeing to a one year, $20 million contract. It is very likely the two sides will again agree to terms on a new deal, however what if they aren’t able to? If Dwyane Wade decided to head elsewhere from the only team he’s known in his 13-year career, where might he seek to go? The leading factors that would likely play a big role in Wade’s decision are: money, a starting job, and a chance to compete for a 4th ring. Here are a list of teams who could provide some combination of these factors:
Cleveland Cavaliers: Coming off their first championship in franchise history, Cavaliers GM David Griffin says he plans to keep this team intact. However, they surely wouldn’t be averse to strengthening the roster even more. Adding the presence of Dwyane Wade would definitely do that. Wade would give them another two-way player who can create plays for both himself and others. That is something that was missing from the team for long stretches, despite their successful season. In Cleveland, Wade would have the comfort of playing with former teammates in Lebron James and James Jones, whom all won two championships together while in Miami, and likely the best chance of possibly winning a 4th ring.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers have been looking for another steady two-way wing player since Doc Rivers took over as coach and president of the team in 2013. With the likes of Jared Dudley, Danny Granger, Hedo Turkoglu, Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson, and Lance Stephenson not being able to provide the production the team needed and Wesley Johnson,Luc Mbah a Moute, Jamal Crawford, and Jeff Green all headed towards free agency, Doc Rivers will be active in looking for upgrades at the wing. Perhaps Wade could be that guy. Wade wouldn’t be asked to do too much on the offensive end, as Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and DeAndre Jordan would still do most of the scoring. However, Wade would be able to just play his game and his presence would give the Clippers what no team can have too many of — a closer.
New York Knicks: With the addition of Derrick Rose joining the likes of Carmelo Anthony andKristaps Porzingis, the Knicks are looking like a team ready to compete for a playoff spot after missing the playoffs for three straight seasons. This team may not be ready to play for a championship at the moment, however there is likely an opening at the shooting guard position after Arron Afflalo opted out of his contract last week. A starting lineup featuring Wade, Anthony, Porzingis, and Rose would make for one of the most impressive in the Eastern Conference and could possibly pique Wade’s interest.
San Antonio Spurs: At some point, the Spurs will have to start looking to get younger and more athletic. However, with the returns of Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan still up in the air, the Spurs may opt to look for other battle-tested, championship winning veterans for their roster and Wade fits that description to a tee. Coming off a franchise-best 67 wins, the Spurs season ended in disappointing fashion following a second round exit in this year’s playoffs. Just two years removed from winning a championship, the addition of Wade would give the Spurs a guy who simply knows how to play the game of basketball and what team knows how to play the game of basketball more than the Spurs?
I still wouldn’t bet my money on Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat. I fully expect him and Heat management to eventually agree to a deal, as Wade his given everything he has for the organization and the city. However, as shocking as the thought of Wade playing for another team outside of Miami would be, the idea is just as intriguing and would make for a great storyline for next season.
Spark Sports NBA Analyst