The NBA free agent frenzy is at a all-time high. Everywhere there are different “insiders with knowledge of the situation” saying where Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and another certain reigning MVP from Cleveland, will land. Come Thursday at midnight, the rumor mill will push to another level all the way to the July 8th signing date begins.
There are so many different scenarios that have been placed into the mix at this point that it gets made to be a foregone conclusion on some players intentions. I’m looking at it from a totally open perspective from the information available from financial perspectives and player intent. For the next few days leading into the July 1 cutting of the ribbon for the free agent race, I will be breaking down individual players roles from THE CHEAP SEATS, continuing with maybe the best pure scorer in Eastern Conference….
The Basics: Shooting/Point Guard, 28 years old, 6’4, 220 lbs
The Numbers: 26.6 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.8 RPG (2010); 25.4 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.9 RPG (Career); 6 time All-Star, 2006 NBA Champion, 2009 Scoring Champion, 2 time All-NBA, 3 time All-Defensive Team
Summary: Dwyane Wade is in the top 3 players in the NBA. He is a dynamic scorer, defender and just about anything else you can be good at. He is one of the rare players who consistently plays his best basketball at the best moments. He scores mainly on penetration baskets to the rim and is the best finisher at the basket in the NBA. He has developed a mid range shot to accompany his finishing at the rim, but is not a good 3 point shooter. He gets to the free throw line consistently as a result of his style of play, although it does take a toll on him playing such a physical style, as he has never played a full season. Wade also is a highly active rebounder and passes in the style of a pure point guard. Essentially, he is two guards in one and lessens the need for a great point guard to accompany him.
Best suited for…..a team where he is in control. To maximize on his talents, Wade needs to have the ball in his hands most of the time. Due to the completeness of his game, this is not a problem necessarily. It does limit what type of player he can be paired with however. It is best for him to have players he can feed the ball too in between using his own scoring prowess, such as a post player or spot up shooters.
Prime Candidates: Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls
New York Knicks: They have both everything that Wade would need and everything he doesn’t all at once. On the court, they have the flexibility to sign Wade and another big name running mate (Bosh, James or Stoudemire) to usher in a new era with, while being able to re-sign incumbent All-Star David Lee and pair them all with the emerging Danillo Gallinari. Off the court, it’s in the media and marketing capital of the planet in New York City. However, it breaks down to chances of winning in the end and the Knicks can’t promise that. It would take a perfect storm to pull the Knicks into immediate contenders, and at this point in his career Wade has little need to be part of any rebuilding project.
New Jersey Nets: The Nets are looking to grow their program into a highlighted one in the league and adding Wade who definitely adds the immediate attention that they desire. However, that doesn’t necessarily add the desired immediate effect on the court. While they feature young building blocks in Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Derrick Favors, and would give the complete keys to the car to Wade, they also are shooting for a playoff appearance within five years, not one. Wade is looking to secure an immediate shot back into the NBA Finals picture with this offseason and that’s not what he finds in Jersey.
Chicago Bulls: There are a lot of indicators that would make Chicago seem like the ideal place for him. The Bulls are already in the playoff picture, have another All-Star in tow already in Derrick Rose and it’s his hometown. However, Wade dispelled Chicago almost as soon as the season ended and it is a location where some of his personal issues surrounding his offseason divorce are based, so he may not want to deal with that full-time. Also, his style of play mirrors Rose’s and it may make for more on court difficulties than needed, especially when you can pick your destiny.
Miami Heat: Every indication puts Wade back on South Beach. For all intensive purposes, Wade seems to be second
in control of the franchise after Pat Riley, and can use this free agent period to position him into a stronger position financially, strategically (such as luring Riley back to the sidelines) and teammate wise. He can keep his same niche and freedom on court in Miami, as the entire scheme revolves around his will, and can attract new pieces that fit into his desired look for a push back to the top of the East. He is already playing the role of lead ambassador for the Heat, so it seems unlikely to bolt after these efforts.
Wade is a unique talent who understand his position in this free agent bonanza well. The max contract is guaranteed, so it’s about aligning himself with the best talent he can in any situation he is in. While he still is playing second fiddle to LeBron in drawing power to attract future teammates, Wade is not far behind and has proven already that with the right cast he will take care of the winning in June. That is something that even LeBron cannot match.
Next: Carlos Boozer