The three-time NBA champion seemed like a shoo-in to finish out his career in Miami, but tensions started to flare over the past few weeks. There were reports that the 12-year-veteran and the franchise had "significant differences" over what Wade's next deal should look like. As a guest analyst for ESPN during the NBA Finals, Wade spoke of his time in Miami in the past tense, terrifying every Heat fan in the world. There were rumors that Wade would possibly reunite with LeBron James in Cleveland or head to a big market like New York or Los Angeles.
Instead, he's returning to South Beach with a substantial raise, which is the primary thing he was pushing for from the team. Wade has never been his team's highest paid player despite his incredible résumé and took a discount on his deal last offseason in order to help the franchise. Opting out this summer showed that he would no longer play in Miami at a discount. The Heat have now responded by stepping up with the money needed to keep him.
Wade is one of the best Miami Heat players in franchise history. He won three championships, including one without LeBron James. At 33, he doesn't have a ton of time left, but when he's healthy and rested he still can be one of the best players in the league.
After struggling in the 2014 NBA Finals, Wade showed flashes of brilliance during the 2014-15 campaign. He averaged 21.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 62 games. The Heat missed the playoffs, but that was in large part due to Chris Bosh missing every game following the All-Star break after a blood clot was discovered in his lung. With Bosh now healthy and Dragic signed longterm the Heat have the tools to challenge in the Eastern Conference.