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| Columns |

If Miami Heat Won't Pay Wade, He Could Join LeBron James Next Season

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It's not that hard to say: "The Miami Heat." That's the name of the team that LeBron James maybe-kinda-probably-on-purpose couldn't remember during an NBA finals interview. It's been almost a year since LeBron left the Heat, yet it seems as if subtle shots — from both sides — are becoming more frequent.

Even worse, Dwyane Wade has become increasingly public about his support of LeBron James. Of course, there isn't anything wrong with that — but it's starting to worry some Heat fans. You know what? It should, because it's seeming more likely that Wade will wear #3 for the Cavaliers next season. 

That's why the time is now for fans to make a push on social media with #PayWade. This is the moment to let the franchise know what a mistake nickel-and-diming the best player in franchise history would be. 

It has become clear that if the Miami Heat doesn't make a leap of faith soon and take care of Dwyane Wade, he will find a way to reunite with LeBron. The two are way too comfortable with each other to think that wouldn't be the goal if Wade became available.

The idea once seemed impossible because the Cleveland Cavaliers are in no position to match the sort of money Dwyane Wade would make in Miami — even in a lowball Heat offer. But the plan is beginning not to seem so nuts. Wade has reinvented his body this offseason and is looking better than he has in years. It would be a shame if the Cavs got to reap the rewards of the hard work the Miami Heat's greatest player has put in these past few months. 

Heat fans need to realize they are Wade's best leverage in these negotiations. Wade — no matter what his team says — is the reason numbers and facts continue to leak.

There is no reason for the Miami Heat, a franchise notorious for being tightlipped, to spill so much info on these premature negotiations. Wade's people want it to be known — by you and other franchises — just how ridiculously low the offers the Heat has put on the table early have been.

Heat execs believe Wade won't get more money elsewhere, and they are probably correct in that thinking. The problem is, they are incorrect if they think Wade wouldn't take drastically less money to join LeBron in Cleveland or Chris Paul in Los Angeles. He will, and it could be sooner than they think. Wade and Heat brass are sure to want to get together before the NBA draft that takes place June 25. At that point, if nothing has changed, you can be sure what has become public of these negotiations so far pales in comparisons to what will leak out then.

Miami Heat fans, you need to realize you may have Dwyane Wade for what amounts to ten more days if he leaves that meeting unhappy. Are you OK with the team lowballing Wade to save tax money or pay notoriously immature and unproven Hassan Whiteside? If not, do something about it before it's too late. 

Lose someone else — anyone else not named Chris Bosh — and ensure that Wade finishes his career in Miami, not as a Cleveland Cavaliers sixth man. 

If Heat fans think watching LeBron James on TV in June sucks now, just imagine what it would be like next year if Dwyane Wade were there next to him. If you think it's impossible, just remember it seemed impossible for the Heat to land LeBron, Bosh, and Wade all in the same summer.

Guess who was most instrumental in making that deal a reality. It was LeBron James. Don't underestimate the power of what he wants. LeBron has a secret motivation in these finals. In the end, players win championships, not suits. 

#PayWade, Miami Heat. A few months ago, you told Heat fans to "plant their Heat Lifer flags," and now it's your turn. 

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