Back in February, after playing his first game back with the Miami Heat since being acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwyane Wade said that he would not leave the Heat again and that he would stay with the team until he retired.
According to the Associated Press, it is unlikely that Wade would accept anything less than the $5.4 million taxpayer midlevel exception from the Heat. The Heat are unable to offer the 36-year-old more money because they are currently over the cap and they do not have his Bird rights.
“If Wade wants to keep playing, there’s a good chance he gets that exception,” wrote Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “The Associated Press has reported Wade is unlikely to accept less than that if he returns.”
The Heat need to decide whether or not they would be better off using the exception on Wade or a frontcourt player. If the Heat were to bring back Wade, that would give them a total of five guards on the roster, which would make for a crowded backcourt rotation. That does not include Josh Richardson, who is now more of a small forward but is still capable of playing either guard position, or impending free agent Wayne Ellington. Miami has reportedly already told Ellington that they want him back.
Last season, Wade averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Heat, appearing in 21 games after being acquired from the Cavaliers. In the playoffs, he increased those numbers to 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, including a vintage performance in Game 2 of the Heat’s first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers where he scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds while leading the Heat to a 113-103 victory.
The Marquette University product has shown that he is still capable of playing a key role, but it will now be up to the Heat to see if they will spend that exception on him or move on from the three-time champion.