The Heat and Dwyane Wade have been discussing potential resolutions of his contract situation and there’s a significant difference in what both parties believe he should be paid for the next three seasons, according to multiple sources.
Though Wade prefers to stay with the Heat, where he has spent his entire 12-year career, he is now open to considering other teams this summer if the Heat does not raise its offer, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
Wade must decide by late June whether to opt out of a contract that would pay him $16.1 million next season.
The Heat wants to keep him but believes that paying him what he’s seeking would dramatically reduce its flexibility to add additional players during the summers of 2016 and 2017.
Last summer, in order to give the Heat flexibility to augment its roster, Wade opted out of the final two years of a contract that would have paid him $41.6 million. He instead accepted a two-year, $31 million deal, which included a player option for next season at $16.1 million.
Wade said last summer that he was curious to see what he could command in the summer of 2016, when the cap is expected to skyrocket from $67 million to $89 million. That led to the belief that Wade would opt-in this summer.
But according to associates, Wade wants to opt out this summer, with the hope that the Heat would give him a lucrative three-year deal that would extend past his 36th birthday.
That does not appear to be the Heat’s preference. The Heat apparently would be content with Wade opting in for next season, then re-signing for good, but not huge, money for another two seasons after that.
Regardless of whether Wade opts out or not, there is believed to be a sizable gap between what Wade would like over the next three seasons and what the Heat would prefer to pay him.
Wade’s agent, Henry Thomas, declined to discuss the gap in negotiations, the chances of Wade leaving the Heat or whether Wade definitely will opt out.
“With the amount of time he has spent with the organization, every effort will be made to try to work something out,” Thomas said. “The five times he played for a championship, resulting in three championships, is a significant accomplishment for any professional. We are continuing to talk about a resolution that would be satisfactory to both sides.”
Is Wade angry with the Heat’s offer?
“I am going to continue to have conversations with the Heat and try to make this work,” Thomas responded.