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.
Sources: Cleveland, San Antonio and Miami are leaders for Dwyane Wade post-Bulls buyout. OKC could become factor too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 25, 2017
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.
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.
Per source, Wade gave up in the neighborhood of $8-10M of the $23.8M the Bulls were contractually obligated to pay him.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) September 25, 2017
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.