Report: Bulls, Dwyane Wade reach buyout agreement; Cavs, Spurs, Heat early leaders

Three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls have come to an agreement to buy him out of his contract, according to a report from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported on the buyout, adding that in a post-Bulls buyout, the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are early favorites to land his services -- with burgeoning Western Conference power Oklahoma City Thunder a dark horse candidate to land his services.

Wojnarowski also reports that Cleveland is the "clear frontrunner" at this time, but Wade is in no rush to make a commitment and might take a little time to decide on where he'll play the upcoming season.

This summer, Wade picked up his player option with the Bulls, citing '$24 million reasons' to do so -- obviously, an indicator of the $24 million he stood to make by doing so. But days after opting in, the team traded away franchise cornerstone Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and took a direction opposite of what Wade seemingly opted in for.

In an interview on "The Mully and Hanley" show on Thursday of this week, Bulls executive VP John Paxson said buyout discussions were ongoing with Wade's representatives, but that it would have to be a move that proved "advantageous" for the franchise.

"Some dialogue is going on," Paxson said before Sunday via the Chicago Tribune. "We understand where Wade is at this time of his career. We're more than willing to work with him. But as I said when we had the press conference to introduce the new players after the draft, we have to always do what's in our best interest. So there has to be something that is mutually agreed upon. It can't be something the player wins because that's what he wants."

In other words: Chicago wasn't going to buy out his contract in whole, and according to K.C. Johnson, the Bulls front office worked him down. Wade gave up approximately $8-10 million to facilitate the deal that now puts him out on the market.

Wade, 35, is entering what will be his 15th season in the NBA, coming off a one-season stint with the Bulls after 13 successful seasons with the Heat. The veteran guard has averaged 23.3 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game throughout his illustrious career, and with his NBA tenure now on the down slope, teams like Cleveland, San Antonio, Miami or Oklahoma City could offer up the opportunity he's seeking to make a run at an NBA title in the twilight of his career.

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