Wade to become a Bull after Heat snub

NEW YORK • Dwyane Wade, a three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion with the Miami Heat, is set to join his hometown team the Chicago Bulls following 13 seasons with the Heat.

The 34-year-old free agent and 12-time All-Star reportedly baulked at a two-year, US$40 million (S$53.9 million) deal from the only franchise he has known.

His new deal will reportedly pay him US$47.5 million over two years, with a player option in the second.

Heat owner Micky Arison wished Wade good luck with his new team on Wednesday.

"Thank you @DwyaneWade for a great 13 yrs! You've had a tremendous impact on our community and our organisation. We wish you all the best," Arison said in a tweet.

The Heat no doubt figured Wade was expendable as injuries - especially knee problems - have cut down his playing time over the last few seasons.

Last season he played a career low 30.5 minutes a game and averaged 19 points per game, equalling his lowest total since his 2003-04 rookie season.

Wade reportedly felt underappreciated by the Heat, after taking a pay cut in 2010 to allow the team come in under the salary cap. He has averaged 23.7 points and 5.8 rebounds during his NBA career.

He was also reportedly upset with Miami making a priority of trying to re-sign Hassan Whiteside and attempting to woo Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City.

The Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Bulls are preparing to offload Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy in order to clear enough space on their wage bill to sign Wade.

Wade has made more than US$300 million in a career in which he teamed up with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to championships in 2012 and 2013 after winning one with Shaquille O'Neal in 2006.

Before reports surfaced about Wade going to Chicago, he had been linked with the Denver Nuggets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Wade, who played on the 2008 US Olympic gold medal-winning team, has never been the Heat's top-paid player.

The Denver Nuggets reportedly pitched as much as US$52 million for two years while Bulls guard Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler had been pushing for Wade to play for his hometown team.

Reaction from players around the league was one of surprise. "Wow!!! Never would have imagine that...," tweeted DeMarre Carroll of the Toronto Raptors.

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said: "Congrats my brother!!!!"

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Wade to become a Bull after Heat snub'. Print Edition | Subscribe