When he faces free agency next summer, which will it be? The Kobe Bryant-style deal or the Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan-style deal? For the Miami Heat and perhaps even for the balance of power in the league, his choice could make a big difference.
LeBron James answered for him.
"D-Wade is getting that Kobe deal," James said from the next locker.
Wade, knowing the gravity of this issue, smiled and shook his head. Then he gave a more diplomatic answer.
"When I get into that position, it's something I'll think about," Wade said. "You have to sit down at the time and see what is best for you and for your team."
In between now and June 30, Wade will decide whether or not he wants to opt out of the final two years of his contract. He's on the books for just shy of $42 million combined in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. If he so desired, he could negotiate a four-year deal this summer worth up to about $100 million. Wade, who turns 32 in January, could also choose to take a pay cut in order to facilitate the Heat adding more pieces to the roster.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh can also opt out this summer. When they teamed up with Wade in 2010, all three of them took less than maximum salaries. Wade convinced the others to do so back then, but said that next time might be different, adding that he "loved" Kobe Bryant's massive deal with to the Los Angeles Lakers and "there's no right or wrong" in these situations, via Windhorst:
"There are different times and different mindsets that you deal with. That was 2010," Wade said. "I'm not saying that LeBron James or Chris Bosh, if they get the opportunity again, are going to leave $17 million on the table. No one can say they should do that. You have to do what is best for you."
It's logical to assume Miami would prefer for him to sign a new deal starting at a lower dollar amount, in order to avoid hefty luxury tax penalties.