Dwyane Wade: Pull Of Chicago Could Outweigh Tough Bulls Basketball Situation In Making Player Option Decision

(CBS) Bulls guard Dwyane Wade reiterated that he’s undecided on whether he’ll utilize the $23.8-million player option he holds for the 2017-’18 season, saying it will come down to how he weighs three factors: family, money and winning.

“I’ve always sat down and thought through everything that I’ve done,” Wade said on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. “I’m not saying I’ve done everything right, but I’ve thought everything through, and it will be the same thing this summer. I didn’t sign a long deal with Chicago because they wanted the flexibility like I did. I’ll have to sit down and decide if I’m going to opt in or if I’m not. I’ll have to sit down and weigh the pros and cons of doing both.

“I’ll sit down with my wife, I’ll sit down with my team at CAA, my agency, and make the best decision for where my career is going and where my career is at and where the organization is, etc.”

Perhaps most notably, the 35-year-old Wade emphasized that the pull of playing in his hometown of Chicago could outweigh a less-than-ideal basketball situation with the Bulls, who have been inconsistent at 26-29 this season and who have seen the growth of many of their young players stunted. Wade spoke with his three kids and nephew in mind.

“It could be enough, yeah,” Wade said. “It’s more so not even looking at it from my standpoint. It’s more so my kids. I think my kids are really enjoying being back home, being back with my family, and they’re playing high school basketball. The tough thing is when you have a family, you have kids, it’s moving them around a lot. This was a tough move for my kids, and now I see them really developing into themselves in Chicago right now. So yeah, I’ll have to sit down and think about that too. It is enough. The Chicago part of it is enough for me, but that’s not the only part. There’s another part (that’s) a money part and a winning part. You have to sit down with all three of those things — family, money and winning — and stack them up and see what’s the most important when you make your decision.”

Wade signed a two-year, $47-million deal with the Bulls last July, the second year for which he holds a player option on. He’s averaging 19.1 points on 43.4 percent shooting.

Wade’s decision on utilizing his player option holds big implications for the Bulls. If he declines it, that would open up another max or near-max salary slot for a free agent. Even if Wade opts in, Chicago could have around $30 million in salary cap space, though some of that will likely be tied up in the form of a cap hold for young big man Cris Felicio and then the ensuing salary he earns. Felicio is set to enter restricted free agency, and the Bulls want to retain him.

Wade also reflected on his 13 years with the Heat, for whom he was a 12-time All-Star. He again cited that he left because he “didn’t feel like I was wanted” by Heat president Pat Riley, who didn’t reach out to Wade in free agency. Otherwise, Wade has fond memories of his time in Miami, which he said will always be home.

“I’ve said it multiple times — I thought it was cool to be one of those guys that could play for one organization their entire career,” Wade said. “It’s very rare, and who doesn’t want to be rare? It didn’t work out that way for me, but to me, it doesn’t take anything away from my journey. Everyone has their own path. Everyone has their own journey, and everything happens for a reason.

“I look back at those 13 years, and I smile.

“At the end of the day, it’s always going to be a part of me. Their organization is always going to be my organization in some form, in some way because of what I was able to accomplish there.”

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