It's August, and Dwyane Wade has not yet committed to playing for the Miami Heat next season. So it's officially time to wonder if he will ever play for the Heat again or if, instead, he will choose an alternate ending to his career. He has plenty of options, such as shocking the basketball universe by heading to China for a couple of years to finish out his playing days, joining LeBron James in Los Angeles, or flat-out retiring.
Greedily, Heat fans would prefer to see Wade gracefully end his career in Miami. Yeah, we're biased. Can you blame us? Every day that passes without news of a Wade signing makes another option likelier.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each decision Wade might make in the coming days. Why? Because we're bored. But also because we're a little worried about what D-Wade really wants to do.
1. Re-sign with Miami and finish his career in a Heat uniform.
Pros: Obviously, this is the move. Miami is the only place for Wade to finish his career and the only place he would get that sweet, Kobe-like farewell tour. The Heat could miss the playoffs next season and fans would still be totally fine with having a chance to say goodbye to the greatest player in the history of South Florida sports.
Cons: If he remained in Miami, Wade would wave goodbye to any realistic chances of winning another title. The Heat — for whatever reason — is stressing money when it comes to Wade's deal even though whatever the team would pay him would be 50 times less than he deserves in light of the fact that the franchise would take advantage of everything from a goodbye bobblehead night to a special on No. 3 farewell bath towels.
2. Join LeBron James in Los Angeles.
Pros: With the Lakers, Wade would play in a nationally televised game nearly every night. Outside China, Los Angeles is the next best thing, marketing-wise, for a guy trying to grow his brand in Asia. Wade would be asked to do less mentoring and more role-playing in L.A. Plus, Wade would have a chance to go out on top with a fourth NBA title.
Cons: See Cleveland Cavaliers, 2017. The Lakers have built the weirdest roster in the history of the NBA. The only reason it's not predicted to be an epic disaster is the greatest player in the history of the sport just so happens to be on the roster as well. All of those nationally televised games would come with a bunch of pressure Wade might not want at this point.
3. Sign with the Houston Rockets and play with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
Pros: Three members of the Banana Boat Crew could finally play together. Wade would get to play against LeBron more times than he would with the Heat, making things a bit more exciting for him. Wade would also have a shot at finishing his career with more rings than LeBron and get to sit in the clubhouse while LeBron tries to match him.
Cons: Houston plays a crazy, fast-paced style of basketball, and Wade would probably be a terrible fit for that sort of up-and-down offense. Houston? This is the least sexy destination on the list. Even if Wade joined a superteam in Houston, the Rockets will somehow be the third-most entertaining
4. Get the entire bag and cash with a lucrative deal in China.
Pros: One last capture of the entire bag of money. All the money. Get paid, Dwyane. A three-year, half-assed stint of playing pickup ball against lesser opponents would make for a tremendous experience, a nice prolonged vacation, and a sweet retirement nest egg. Wade has a lifetime contract with his Chinese shoe company already secured, so the $25 million to $30 million Wade would make playing with a Chinese team for a couple of years would be only the tip of the iceberg in terms of cash he'd receive.
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Cons: Wade would have to live in China, far from his home and family. Wade's son is balling and is far away from that country. Wade's wife, Gabrielle Union, probably doesn't want to move to China, where her acting opportunities would be greatly reduced. Also, ending a career in China is usually something players do when all other options have been exhausted. It would be a bold move to do so while Wade can still snag an NBA job.
5. Simply retire.
Pros: Sometimes less is more and doing nothing is the best choice. Right now, it seems like Wade playing for the Heat and retiring are neck-and-neck when it comes to his best option. He has nothing left to prove and has more money than he can spend. His health and his family are all that matter at this point. Playing another season seems sort of like a waste of time for him.
Cons: When you're done, you're done. It's tough to hang up those sneakers and call it a career when there are millions upon millions of dollars to be made and even more fans begging you to come back. Wade would be the first of the Banana Boat Crew to call it a career, so he'd have, like, nothing to talk about on the yacht next summer. Retirement seems like a good idea when it's the off-season, but when retirement doesn't have an off-season, you realize it's actual retirement. Heat fans would be crushed if Wade retired. That's not fun for anyone.