After appearing at Friday’s NBA Finals game in attire that set the social media world on fire, Dwyane Wade took a flight back to Chicago to have his formal exit interview with the Chicago Bulls.
Wade has until June 27 to decide on his $23.8 million player option to return to the Bulls next season. According to Johnson’s sources, the franchise has been preparing for Wade to opt in throughout the offseason, and most analysts across the industry believe he will do just that.
Back on April 29, Wade outlined his decision-making process to reporters and addressed how much of a factor that Jimmy Butler will play in whether he opts in or out.
"Jimmy is, you know, a huge component in me being here. You know, what's his future like? But at the end of the day it is a me decision," Wade said. "Everyone knows that Jimmy's my guy, and I'm here because of our conversation (last summer). But a lot of it depends on the whole big picture. Jimmy's a big piece, but it's a big picture as an organization."
More than anything, Wade seems to be very appreciative of his situation and where he is in his future Hall of Fame career:
"Whether there are a lot of options (elsewhere in the league) or not, I'm in a very good situation. As a player, you can decide what you want to do. And I have a lot of money to decide if I want to take it or not. It's not a bad thing because I worked my butt off for it over my career, so no rush in my mind. I'm just going to get away and let my hair grow a little bit, get a tan."
He also spoke about the possibility of him opting out to chase a ring back on the April 29 session:
"I don't need to ring chase, but I can. It's a great luxury to have," Wade explained. "Or I can be a part of passing down my knowledge to younger players. It's either way. Whatever I decide, I'm going to embrace whatever role I have on a team. That's sometimes being the second option. Sometimes I'm going to be the first. And sometimes this season, I had to be the third or fourth. It all changes, and you want to be the best at whatever role is presented to you. I've always been that way. It won't change. That will always be me."
The 35-year-old shooting guard averaged a career-low 29.9 minutes in his 60 games for the Bulls during the regular season in which he posted averages of 18.3 points (his lowest since his rookie year), 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists (the lowest mark of his career).
With career averages of 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists along with three NBA titles under his belt, Wade could presumably follow one of two paths: chase the money or chase another ring. Since he’s won multiple championships, the pressure of doing the latter isn’t as high as it could be if he hadn’t yet hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
As he mentioned, that’s a pretty nice situation to be in.
It will be fascinating to see how the situation in Chicago transpires.