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Ryan Mayer

Dwyane Wade picked up the player-option on his contract with the Chicago Bulls earlier this offseason, setting him up to earn $24 million this year. However, since Wade picked up the option, the Bulls have launched into rebuild mode trading Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for guards Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine and the number seven pick in the draft which was used on forward Lauri Markkanen. Now, Wade looks set for the “veteran mentor” role, unless the rumors of a potential buyout are true.

Since it’s the NBA offseason, the speculation immediately began as to where Wade could possibly end up if he’s bought out. His former team, the Miami Heat, were thrown into the conversation, particularly in light of the team still having a $4.3 million mid-level exception available to them. According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the team would be interested in bringing back Wade at that lower salary if possible.

“While the Heat had no interest in bringing back Wade on a big-money deal, there likely would be Heat interest in Wade at a lower salary. Miami’s level of interest would depend, in part, on need at the time.

Miami is loaded at guard, with five veteran players, but has not ruled out a Wade return at some point.”

Don’t get too excited yet Heat fans. There’s still a large obstacle in the way of a potential Wade reunion: the Bulls. According to a report from ESPN’s Nick Friedell, the Bulls management team of Gar Forman and John Paxson have spoken to Wade’s agent, but have not brought up the possibility of a buyout.

“I know [general manager] Gar [Forman] has spoken to Leon Rose, Dwyane’s agent,” Paxson said. “As far as a buyout, it has not been broached. I will say this, that in this type of scenario, it would have to benefit us. It would absolutely have to benefit us.”

So, if Wade isn’t bought out, the Heat would have to trade in order to bring him back to South Beach and, as expressed earlier, their interest would lie in bringing him back at a lower salary. That’s not possible in a trade. So, for now, it may be fun to imagine the possibility of a veteran Wade rejoining the team on a smaller contract to mentor the Heat’s stable of guards but, that’s all it can be for now: imagination. Unless Wade is bought out, it doesn’t seem likely that a reunion will happen this season.

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