Dwyane Wade brought 3 titles to the Miami Heat in his 13 seasons. He made 12 all star appearances. I could list any number of other stats or accomplishments and you’d be impressed. But let’s look at this from a wider perspective: Dwyane Wade is the biggest star in Miami since Dan Marino. Some might even say he’s a bigger star. And Miami screwed it all up.
The Heat disrespected Wade. At least that’s how Wade must have looked at it. When free agency began July 1st, the team put a higher priority on signing Hassan Whiteside. They had a meeting with Kevin Durant and discussed a major contract. The Heat showed a willingness to spend money, they just didn’t want to spend money on Wade. Reports suggest that after these two significant meetings, they offered him a 2 year deal worth $40 million. But Wade, 34, had his best and healthiest season in 5 years last year. Reports said he wanted $50 million over 2 years. The Heat didn’t step up, and in a move that many figured would never happen, Wade bolted to the Bulls. Most thought it was initially a leverage play. Most thought Wade would be a Heat lifer. But it now appears he’ll sign a contract worth around $47 million over 2 years and play in his hometown of Chicago.
So what does this do for the Bulls? First of all, it creates buzz. The Bulls recently traded another Chicagoan, Derrick Rose, for a group of role players. The front office made every effort to say the team wasn’t rebuilding, but rather ‘retooling.’ But then, they signed Rajon Rondo, 30, a former NBA champion who led the NBA in assists last season. Rondo has had his problems with coaches, other players and many have questioned his work ethic, however this was undoubtedly a step in a different direction than what was anticipated. Then, they bring in Wade, who, paired with Rondo and Jimmy Butler, actually creates a rather intriguing team. But here’s the major issue: none of these guys can really shoot.
Last season, Rondo shot just over 36% from behind the arc. Jimmy Butler was worse, shooting just 31% from the three point line. Then there’s Wade, who barely took a three pointer, but when he did he shot around 16%.
The NBA is increasingly a jump shot heavy league. Having outside shooters has become more and more important. The Warriors started the trend, but most other teams have adapted to it. The Bulls, however, have done the opposite with these moves. They traded away arguably their best shooter, Mike Dunleavy, just to make room for Wade on the roster. In late June, the Bulls front office said one of the goals for this team moving forward is to become younger and more athletic. On the contrary, the Bulls have gotten older with players that are less mobile. Having said that, the story-lines to follow for the Bulls this season will be incredibly entertaining, and the team went from what looked like a rebuild to possibly setting themselves up for a playoff appearance in 2017.