News that D-Wade was at a contractual impasse with the Heat has HeatNation trembling with fear and the rest of the Association/Haters chomping at the bit. HeatNation breathe, relax. All will be well and here are 5 reasons why.
1. My Home is Better than Your House
Undoubtedly, Miami is Wade County and the AAA is Wade’s house. Even more than Heat greats like Long, Rice, Mourning or Hardaway, D-Wade has become the face and identity of the Heat franchise since day one. He continued to be the face even when 2010 came around and Legone “graced” us with his presence. It would be ridiculous to leave all that behind and become someone else’s running mate where the respect and admiration would be cordial at best.
2. You Come to Me, I’m not Coming to You.
Also, D-Wade has been masterful at bringing talent. Obviously, he heard the pitches from other teams during free agency, but D-Wade has rested on his comfortable Miami chair, shown his talent, and made everyone come to him. Who other than Kobe has commanded such power to mobilize marquee names to him? Exactly. No one else. Will D-Wade command that same power elsewhere? Of course not because, as I said above, he will be just a veteran visitor elsewhere and not the star homeowner. There is no doubting that D-Wade is worth large contracts given his incredible talent. There is no question he above all other stars has sacrificed for the whole (no thanks to Legone). However, the potential for him to gain a major contract at his age, even with the higher salary cap, is rather slim. If D-Wade wants to show the Haters he is not washed up, that he can still be a major threat, and that he can lead a team as the alpha star, then staying in Miami is the one and only option.
3. The Godfather Among Us
It’s funny how people/Haters quickly forget that our front office is the led by an astute owner, Micky Arison, and the Godfather of Basketball, Pat Riley. Both have surprised this city again and again with the way they structure their deals, trade players, build up young prospects, and bring championships to Miami. I am sure they will negotiate eagerly with D-Wade to remain with the Heat. Unlike others who can’t be called out by legends and run home, D-Wade and Riley share too much history and wield the same winning mentality to let that all go. Obviously, with every business relationship there will be a healthy back and forth, but to say that both the Heat front office and D-Wade are worlds apart as to risk what they constructed is farfetched at best. Riley wants to build an enduring dynasty in Miami and as president of the Heat, it is his job to do so. He has a vision which D-Wade undoubtedly knows. Will Riley impart that vision and show how far the Heat can go? Of course. In that effort, will he not take care of D-Wade, the face of the franchise, in some fashion and risk tarnishing his reputation and everything he built in Miami with D-Wade? Of course not.
4. Business Options Abound in Miami
Let’s get down to business. With the Heat, D-Wade can either 1) opt-in and take the $16 million as planned [$16 million I might add that are STATE TAX FREE]; 2) opt-out and take a minimal raise potentially to $17 or $17.5 million pending also on Riley offering what his FA strategy will be; 3) force a large one-year contract in the range of $22 to $24 million and then have options for year two and three; or 4) opt-in, sacrifice again, and maybe ask for a bite of the apple meaning an executive/owner position with the Heat once he retires. This also includes the idea that Dragic and Whiteside stay for more money but not max money. His options going to another team? Maybe get the same if not a lesser contract at the option he currently has WITH STATE TAX, get offered some guaranteed money upfront with mid-level exceptions at the back end in a place he has not built, or gamble and lose everything in hand should another team not have that much too offer. Again, the more lucrative options rest with Miami not elsewhere. And I mean lucrative not only in the dollars and cents but also in the prospect of a fourth championship if the Heat can build another mega team in 2016.
5. Wade is HeatNation, HeatNation is Wade
When the Haters came out in droves once Legone left, the onus of representing HeatNation fell on one man: D-Wade. And represent he did by creating the #HeatLifer movement on social media which then gave birth to HeatNation. Every time he signals the fans at the beginning of a game, every time he conducts another premiere event, every time he says this is HIS house, it’s because he has felt the complete support of an eternally optimistic and, why not, brash Heat fanbase. D-Wade should recognize that HeatNation first set sight on campaigning for his return in 2010 before anyone else came, that this county will always be inextricably known as Miami Wade County, and that no championship, NONE, was as fervently celebrated as the celebrations down Biscayne Blvd. with Wade at the helm of those celebrations.
There is no place like home. HeatNation knows this; D-Wade knows it, too. D-Wade built this home and there is greater value in renovating it than becoming a guest in another’s house. And you can’t call this home without first dialing a 3 before the 0-5.