Before the season started I picked the Chicago Bulls as my darkhorse team in the Eastern Conference. I mean, how could I not? There was the addition of Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade to pair with Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez. The Bulls were loaded, on paper that is.
However, they struggled out the gate and then came the clashes. Rondo spoke out then Butler and Wade and before long, Rondo was coming off the bench. Add that to the trade of Gibson and now the season-ending injury to Wade and those same Bulls I was rooting for is no more. The sad part is, it could get worse.
Wade is pretty much on a one-year deal as he’s set to have a player option next season. If he doesn’t like the direction of the team and if they continue to have issues or Butler’s name keeps coming up in trade rumors then Wade may just leave. This has to concern the Bulls immensely as they will be left with a bipolar Rondo and that may force Butler to start trade demands.
Wade is the key here.
If Wade stays that will attract top-notch free agents like Blake Griffin, Chris Paul or Paul George just to name a few. But, if he decides to leave will that hurt his legacy? No. Wade has shown loyalty throughout his career and at his age and what he’s done in the NBA he deserves another shot at a ring with a contender.
Wade can still five you 20 a night but his body is showing serious signs of fatigue. If the Bulls were to make the playoffs Wade could return in time to fight for another ring but how much more can his body take? The best bet may be to reduce his playing time, or make him one of the best 6th men in the NBA the way James Harden used to be for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wade has averaged 30 minutes this season, this lowest of his career and is shooting just 43 percent from the floor and taking only 5 free throw attempts per game. Both stats are career lows. Wade has made a career of getting to the line but as he has gotten older he has relied more on his perimeter game as his three-point percentage (.315) is the second highest of his career. Wade is not the player he used to be and that’s expected from a 35-year old.
A move to the bench may just be what the doctor ordered to prolong a stellar career. No player with his resume wants to hear that but he has to accept it.