The Chicago Bulls have bought out Dwyane Wade's contract, making him a free agent. In what has already been a crazy offseason, another notable player is now available. Although Wade is 35-years-old and no longer in his prime, he will draw significant interest. But which team will end up signing Wade?
It made perfect sense for the Bulls to buy-out Wade. After he picked up his $23.8 million player option, the Bulls dealt away Jimmy Butler and entered a rebuilding phase. Now that he's bought out, here are the five most likely options:
5. Los Angeles Lakers
According to a source, the Lakers are one of Wade's preferred landing spot. Along with being in Los Angeles - something he views as a jumpstart for his life after basketball, which includes a possible broadcasting career and startup tech investing - he views the Lakers as a young team in which he could serve as a mentor. The Lakers could land two superstars next offseason (one of which could be LeBron), allowing Wade to close his career playing on a contender. But if Wade truly does want to play in Los Angeles, he might want to wait until next offseason.
4. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are one of the original four leaders for Wade, per Adrian Wojnarowski. That makes some sense, as Wade wants to compete and has immense respect for head coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs would make for a quality landing spot, but it's not the most likely. Although the Spurs check off the winning and coaching side of things, San Antonio doesn't have the personal connections for Wade that others do.
3. Miami Heat
A return to Miami? There's some interest from both sides, although there are some wounds that need to heal before this would become reality. There are also two factors that could make or break this move. How would head coach Erik Spoelstra handle the rotation with Wade? Would he get his starting shooting guard spot back from Dion Waiters, who just signed a long-term extension with the franchise, or would Wade be forced to come off the bench? It could end up being off the bench, which actually might end up being the case for Wade at several spots on this list.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have already landed Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, so why not add another big-name player in the Summer of Sam Presti? Wade is friends with Carmelo Anthony and he'd certainly like to play alongside him. Wade might be forced to come off the bench, but if that's a role he's willing to accept, he's a perfect fit for the Thunder. The OKC bench is thin, but adding Wade would be a critical boost. Also, monitor the Houston Rockets in the Wade chase.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
The connection here is obvious. There is the appeal of playing with good friend LeBron James again, even if it ends up just being for the rest of the upcoming season. Cleveland has already been trying to recruit Wade this summer and will continue to do so now that he's bought out. LeBron's camp thinks Wade will sign with the Cavs and they're the front-runner.