When the ugliest sports vernacular like “discounts” and “it’s a business” have been uttered in South Florida, it’s a Dwayne Wade and Miami Heat tussle. It isn’t the Miami Dolphins because they pay full price and it isn’t the Miami Marlins because they don’t pay anything. It could only mean Dwayne Wade and the Heat. The last two years have included cryptic messaging and passive aggressive behavior from professionals acting like children. This is framed as “business” but there was more maturity found in a daycare center. The good news is the spatting is finally over and, like most wars, nobody really won.
The discount was at the heart of all the dissension. How much was given up by Wade the year before and how much would be earned in the future? Is a discount an admission of diminishing talent and worth? Or is the discount for the betterment of the team and had the discount been enough in past years to lead to this moment of truth? It’s all negligible and that includes the interpretation of the fans.
Miami Heat nation gave a discount for the Dwayne Wade experience. Heat Nation enjoyed three championships, incredible basketball, and the relationships that Dwayne Wade fostered to make American Airlines arena a star studded event night after night. The trade off was a win for the fans and the ownership, but it wasn’t perfect. Who knows that more than Dwayne Wade?
Where Miami affectionately called Wade’s “old man game” is where some in Chicago have considered their new acquisition as straight outta AARP. Father prime’s age isn’t the only thing that will be brought into question about the sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer:
- That help brand of defense Wade habitually plays. It has happened more as he has gotten older, to the tune of Miami giving up 4 fewer points per game while #3 was on the bench last year. He may be a Bull but he really acts like a matador on the defensive end.
- Making one out of two free throws. He makes the “and 1s” without fail but his 76.9 career percentage is what it is. From a mid-range shooting Hall of Fame two guard, that percentage is average at best.
- His Hall of Fame mindset. Wade will turn 35 in January 2017 but, as he mentioned this year, he may still feel 28 and be just as ball dominant as ever. Is Jimmy Butler going to be the #2? That won’t go well.
- How’s that unproven head coach and Wade relationship going to work out? Erik Spoelstra had a special long term relationship with this dynamic player which allowed more autonomy then most.
- Like the head coach relationship, Dwayne Wade has had long standing, professional relationships that have helped his media obligations and nurtured his star profile. Judging the early returns, it may be a little rougher in Chicago.
These were all discounts that Miami Heat nation gave throughout the years and would give more of had Dwayne Wade remained in South Florida. The question now is: how much of a discount will Chicago give compared to South Florida? Was the minimal, at best, increase in earnings worth the scrutiny that will likely come? Did Dwayne Wade discount the loyalty that was earned through 13 years of sacrifice? These are the questions awarded to a fresh start with the bittersweet ending.