In an NBA free agency season that has produced its share of blockbuster moves, the big news Wednesday was the move of longtime Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls.
The news came on the heels of the blockbuster move of Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, with the Wade move coming as a bigger surprise.
ESPN reports that Wade agreed to a two-year contract with the Bulls that will pay him $47 million. The Heat had reportedly offered him a two-year, $40 million deal.
The jump to Chicago is a homecoming for Wade, who released a letter to the AP in which he wrote: “Growing up in Robbins, Ill., I never dreamed that an NBA career could have even been possible and that one day I would wear a Chicago Bulls jersey. Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player.”
Wade’s letter adds: “My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center. I have never forgotten where I came from and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game. Many of my family members still live in Chicago and I am excited to return home to a city very close to my heart.”
Wade’s departure from the team where he has spent his entire 13-year career comes amid widespread sentiment that bad blood existed between Wade and Heat President Pat Riley.
Riley referenced the conflict in a text sent to the Miami Herald, writing, in part: “Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”
Wade commented on his decision to leave Miami during a guest-hosting appearance this morning on “Live with Kelly,” as we reported separately. You can see that conversation by clicking here.