Question: What do Miami Heat's three NBA title winning seasons, their 37-45 campaign in 2014, and every roster since 2003 have in common?
Answer: Dwyane Wade.
The Heat lifer has been a constant in South Florida as franchise has risen to prominence over the past decade, and he is adored by the team's fans as a result. News today, then, that his future in Miami is in doubt will have everyone concerned.
According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Wade is considering leaving the franchise this offseason unless the Heat bump up his pay packet.
Per Jackson's report:
"Though Wade prefers to stay with the Heat...he is now open to considering other teams this summer if the Heat does not raise its offer, according to three sources with direct knowledge."
Wade took a pay cut last season - opting out of his final two-years worth $41.6 million in what was widely seen as a selfless effort to help the Miami Heat bring in talent to replace LeBron James - but it now looks like the eight-time All-Star wants to be paid his worth after a disappointing campaign for the team.
The deal he signed last year has an early termination option for this offseason and, according to Jackson, Wade has until late June to decide whether he opts out on a deal that would pay $16.1 million in 2015-16.
Dwayne Wade has been at the top of the game for over a decade and, despite recent injuries and an ageing body, could still likely command more than he is currently set to earn.
Ideally that would be with the Heat but it looks increasingly like the franchise are not willing to use up a large chunk of their salary space on one player as they look to build for the future.
Wade has never been the top paid player on the roster at any point in his Miami Heat career and perhaps, at this late stage in his career, he wants that privilege somewhere in the league.
The news that is considering his options will come as a huge disappointment to Heat fans who have endured a tough 12 months after the highs of previous campaigns.
After losing LeBorn James this time last year the idea of losing the player most synonymous with the franchise would be inconceivable to many. Couple that with missing out on the postseason for the first time since 2008 in the season just gone and things look like they might get worse before they get better in Miami.
Heat fans: Should the team pay what Wade wants, or is it time to move on for both sides? Have your say in the comments below...
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