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Dwyane Wade reportedly could leave Heat if contract dispute isn't resolved

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Would Wade really leave the only franchise he's ever played for?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade gave the Heat a discount last offseason to return to Miami, but according to one report, the veteran shooting guard and the franchise have reached an 'early impasse' over what Wade could command in a contract this summer. Wade and the Heat have 'significant differences' over his next deal, according to Miami Herald.

A year ago, Wade opted out of a deal that would have paid him over $41 million for the next two seasons. Instead, he signed a two-year deal worth $31 million that includes an early termination option for the 2015-16 season. Wade is hoping to exercise his ETO this summer, while the Heat would reportedly prefer he stays for the last $16 million of his deal.

Wade reportedly wants to stay in Miami, but it no longer sounds like a lock to happen.

Would Wade really leave the only franchise he's ever played for? Would the Heat really let him walk? Let's break down this rumor.

Why it makes sense

At age 33, Wade doesn't have a lot of time left in his career to maximize his earnings. He's on the downside of his prime, but he can still be an effective wing when he's healthy and engaged. It stands to reason that Wade would want to make as much money as possible while he can still command a significant offer, especially after seemingly doing the Heat a favor by opting out of a more lucrative deal last season.

Wade averaged 21.5 points and 4.8 assists last season in 62 games while posting a PER of more than 21. There's a lot of teams who would love that type of productive at shooting guard. With the salary cap rising each of the next two summers, this may be his last opportunity to cash in.

If Wade is mostly concerned about signing one last big contract, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that Miami could let him walk.

Why it doesn't make sense

The Heat's trade deadline deal for Goran Dragic last season made Miami look like a potential sleeping giant in the East. Right after it happened, star big man Chris Bosh was diagnosed with a season-ending blood clot in his lung. If Bosh is healthy and Wade returns to Miami, the Heat could once again be a threat in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Also: it's only May. There's a lot of time for Wade and the Heat to come to an agreement, and these two parties have always worked well together. Wade has won three titles in Miami and will likely go down as the best player in franchise history, as long as you consider LeBron James' four years in South Beach to be a sabbatical for his time away from Cleveland.

It's likely that the Heat value a 33-year-old Wade more than any other franchise would. He sells tickets, acts as the face of the franchise, and can still be an All-Star level player when he's on the court. The cap is set to rise even higher in the summer of 2016, so it might also make sense for Wade to be motivated to put together one more quality season before hitting the open market.

Likelihood

3/10

Wade has done so much for the Heat that it just seems unlikely the two sides will fail to come to a compromise. We'll believe Wade is leaving Miami when it actually happens.