Dwyane Wade will meet privately with Chicago Bulls officials Friday afternoon for a second time in two days on Friday and is seriously contemplating leaving the Miami Heat to join his hometown team, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade celebrate their victory during the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas.
This could be a significant step in Wade helping to create a blockbuster partnership with LeBron James on the Bulls.
Wade and James have been discussing the possibility of playing together, but the major hurdle to the starry alliance remains James’ reluctance to join Wade in Miami, sources say.
“D-Wade and LeBron want to play together, but neither one wants to commit to each other,” a source with knowledge of the conversations told Yahoo! Sports on Friday.
Sources say that Wade is intrigued by the infrastructure of talent the Bulls have to surround him, especially in contrast to how gutted the Heat roster has become in the clearing of salary cap space.
The Bulls are trying to line up a commitment from Wade prior to their formal presentation with James in Cleveland on Saturday, sources said.
Chicago has a strong nucleus of young players, including Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who with Wade and James would instantly turn the Bulls into a championship contender.
Without Wade leaving Miami to join James elsewhere, league sources believe that the two players are most likely to re-sign with their respective teams, Miami and Cleveland. Still, Wade and free agent forward Chris Bosh are closely connected and even without James, Wade is considering a Chicago partnership with Bosh. With 29.9 million in cap space, Chicago could give two different players a five year, $87.6 million contract.
Sources say that Chicago has a proposed trade of Luol Deng looming for what’s described as a “center,” that could help to clear more space. The Bulls could also ship young forward James Johnson to get more room.
The Bulls must make a strong case to James on Saturday to get him to take what would be $30 million less than the Cavaliers could offer. Sources say one team that all but eliminated itself with James in the presentation process was the New York Knicks. James met with the organization on Friday and his inner-circle has described New York’s presentation as lacking preparedness and organization. James’ camp also found it to be redundant to much of the New Jersey Nets’ far sharper, edgier presentation on James’ earning power.
James hasn’t been convinced that he can overcome the $30 million difference between possible Cleveland and New York offers through endorsements and other streams of revenue. However, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s vision of bulking up James’ international portfolio did resonate with him, and the Nets vision of using Brooklyn and the owner’s international muscle does appeal to him.
Sources say that James is dubious his mere presence on the Knicks will be worth that much more to him in endorsements. The appearance of Knicks GM Donnie Walsh in a wheelchair due to a neck problem and the frumpy, unimpressive Jim Dolan didn’t provide James with an image of vibrancy.
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports