Miami — Dwyane Wade will become a free agent Wednesday, and his 12-year stay with the Heat could be ending.
Wade, a three-time champion and 11-time All-Star announced his decision Monday through a spokesperson. He could have exercised an option to earn $16.1 million with the Heat next season. Instead he decided to roll the dice and test his worth on the open market.
The move wasn't unexpected.
It does, however, carry risks for Wade and the Heat.
On one hand, Wade — who left around $27 million on the bargaining table in his last two contract negotiations with the Heat — might not find anyone willing to pay as much in the short term as Miami would have.
On the other, the Heat could lose the face of its franchise, career scoring leader and someone revered in the Miami market.
"We want Dwyane back," Heat president Pat Riley said last week. "There's no doubt about that. "The one thing that I've learned about free agency is that when a player has an opportunity to be a free agent, you give him the space and the time to think about that."
Luol Deng elected to stay with the Heat, using his opt-in clause on a $10.1 million deal.
... The Warriors exercised their $3.8 million team option on reserve Marreese Speights.
... The Bulls say guard Kirk Hinrich exercised his $2.85 million option and will return.
... The Magic waived former Pistons guard guard Ben Gordon and learned No. 1 draft pick Mario Hezonja had completed a buyout with European club FC Barcelona.
... Caron Butler, traded from the Pistons to the Bucks for Ersan Ilyasova, is expected to be released Wednesday, the first day of free agency. He has a non-guaranteed $4.5 million contract for 2015-16.
... Now that he's added Tim Hardaway Jr., Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has narrowed his focus on re-signing All-Star forward Paul Millsap and starting guard DeMarre Carroll.
NBA teams can begin negotiating with free agents at midnight Wednesday, and Budenholzer believes the acquisition of Hardaway (Michigan) will help convince Millsap and Carroll to stay in Atlanta.
"Our most important thing is keeping our team together," Budenholzer said.
... Kobe Bryant accepted the apology of Lakers first-round draft pick Larry Nance Jr., who sent out a 2012 tweet criticizing Bryant.
Shortly after last week's draft, Nance sent a lengthy message to Bryant, who responded by calling it "water under the bridge," Nance says.