This Time its Wade’s “Decision”

wade

They can offer him more money than any other team

 Fans renamed the county after him

He helped bring the franchise three championships

One would think that there is no way that Dwyane Wade leaves the Miami Heat and signs with another team once the 2015 NBA free-agency period begins.

But there is a slight chance…

We have already seen ominous signs on social media that imply that he is contemplating changing uniforms for the 2015-16 season. Whether it was his wife actress Gabrielle Union tweeting that he was leaving or his father being photographed in a Cleveland Cavaliers t-shirt, we know this much, it isn’t a 100% guarantee that he will return to South Beach.

What if he wants to return to his hometown a la his BFF LeBron James and help lead the Chicago Bulls back to the NBA finals – a place the team hasn’t been since the immortal Michael Jordan left in 1998? If that’s the case, he would go to a team that has enough pieces in Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah to be a legitimate NBA Championship contender. Wade returning home could give the Bulls more depth at the guard/small forward position with outlets reporting that all-star guard Jimmy Butler will resign with the team. While not the same explosive player he was from years ago, Wade would provide the Bulls another veteran with championship experience and someone who could take the pressure off of Rose in the waning moments of key games. Wade’s inconsistent play, coupled with other issues, led to the Heat demise against the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, but he was the difference maker in the championship the previous year, so he still has something left to prove.

Or could he head to Cleveland and link back up with LeBron James. With Kyrie Irving going down with a knee injury in Game 1, what once was considered a toss-up series turned into many predicting a worse fate for the Cavaliers than their 2007 sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs?  James’ herculean effort made the series more competitive than expected but it revealed his weakness – he isn’t built for championship runs without significant help. The return of Irving will help, but the Cavs have to decide if forward Kevin Love is a part of their future plans and if he isn’t, who will step in and provide enough scoring punch to keep the LeBron happy and the Cavs atop the Eastern Conference.

Could Wade be that guy?

Just imagine if it was Wade LeBron was passing to for those open jump shots instead of J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert. What if it was Wade sustaining the flow of the offense while James sat on the bench for a much needed rest… maybe the city of Cleveland could still be basking the glory of winning its first professional championship in over 60 years.

But hindsight is 20/20 and it’s too easy to play shoulda-coulda-woulda after the fact.

Wade, like LeBron, also realized how important the other was to team success as the Heat missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. His scoring average (21.2ppg) stayed within close proximity of his career average (23.9 ppg), but his shot attempts (17.4) was its highest since the 2011-12 season and his shooting percentage (.470) the lowest since 2009-10. So as much as LeBron missed Wade, Wade also suffered as he had to shoulder more of the load than he had in the past. Dipping into the lottery did help them land super freshman Justise Winslow from Duke with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but will he be enough to get Miami back in the post-season after the year hiatus?

In a day and age where it’s rare to see NBA players spend their entire career with one team Wade has the opportunity to and in doing so will cement his legacy as the King of South Beach.

Despite the temptation to chase another ring next season, Wade would be better off finishing his career in Miami and eventually pass the torch to the next star of the franchise in Winslow. And you never know if Chris Bosh returns healthy, Hassan Whiteside proves that last season wasn’t a fluke and if the team is able to re-sign point guard Goran Dragic, Wade and the Heat could be a strong obstacle standing in the way of his former partner-in-crime returning to the finals for a sixth straight season.

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