It looks like Dwyane Wade is staying put…

…assuming Pat Riley can get him some help. Here’s what he had to say after the Heat’s loss to the Celtics in Game 5, per TrueHoop

“I’m looking forward to a good team to build, and being with some great players next year, and to continue to beef up our roster,” Wade said.

Notice his use of the pronoun “our.”

And also note that at no point did Wade ever expressly state a desire to head elsewhere. But he did place the onus on Pat Riley to make things happen over the summer.

“I’m not putting no pressure on myself. I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago to sign this deal to make sure that my team stays competitive. We’ve got some work to do, the front office has to do it, and there’s no pressure on me,” Wade said. “I’ve said where my heart is, and I think any player that’s thinking about wanting to come to Miami, they know where my heart is. You just have to see things being done and accomplished.

“We see that, and we’ll be talking again.”

I don’t see Wade leaving town at this point. After the Heat played pretty well over the last half of the season, he started talking about how Miami is where his heart is and that it’s the Heat’s gig to lose, and since the franchise is in a great position to add talent this offseason, he’s a good bet to stay put.

Michael Beasley, on the other hand, appears to be on the outs. He was benched for the entire second half of Game 5, and looks to be expendable heading into the offseason. This opens up another possibility that was seemingly closed a few months ago — the signing/acquisition of Carlos Boozer, who was once considered “too similar” to Beasley.

So if the Heat strike out on LeBron James and/or Chris Bosh, Boozer and/or Amare Stoudemire would be a good backup plan. I think either player would convince Wade to stay put.

With $42 million in cap space, the Heat are basically a blank slate. If they were able to move Beasley and his salary ($5 million), they would almost have enough to sign three max free agents. The problem is that the top guys all seem to play power forward or shooting guard. However, the Heat could have enough to add Rudy Gay and Bosh/Stoudemire/Boozer, or even David Lee.

If I were Pat Riley, I’d be in constant communication with Wade to see which players he’d most like to play with. By having his buy in, you would ensure that he’s happy with the players you’re bringing in. I wonder if Riley’s ego is too big for that…


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Wade: “Miami is in the driver’s seat.”

Dwyane Wade appeared on the “Mike & Mike” show and reiterated his desire to re-sign with the Heat.

“Chicago is my home city, and I love Chicago,” Wade said. “But my heart is here in Miami.

“All the cards are in Miami, and it’s their game to lose, more than anything. I appreciate that organizations want me to be a part of them, but right now Miami is in the driver’s seat.”

A couple of things to note here: 1) Wade seems pleased with the play of the Heat over the last month of the season. Even if they had an easy schedule, they took care of business and went into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league. Whether or not they lose to Boston may not matter. 2) Wade mentions the Bulls, but he doesn’t mention the Knicks. I don’t know the context of his response, but he does mention Chicago and doesn’t mention any other team save for the Heat.

It sounds to me that if Miami is able to sign a sidekick (Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer) then Wade is likely to re-sign.

David Lee is uncertain about the summer

The soon-to-be free agent has had a career season for the Knicks, averaging 20-12, while shooting almost 55% from the field en route to his first All-Star nod. He told the New York Times that he doesn’t have any idea what’s going to happen this summer.

“I don’t know how the Knicks are going to do timetable-wise, or if LeBron is going to have a decision made by July 1 or Sept. 1,” Lee said. “I don’t know how it’s going to work. At this point, I’m just going to look at everything as it comes to me and let my agent do his job.”

Ideally, the Knicks would sign two superstars, with James and Bosh the top targets. That would require renouncing the rights to all of their free agents, including Lee. But there are countless ways to spend the cap space. They could sign one marquee player and have enough left to sign Lee and another solid free agent. Or they could strike out entirely on the marquee players, in which case they will have plenty of room for Lee — and a long line of depressed season-ticket holders.

Chris Sheridan writes that it’s likely that another team will make him a sizable offer early in free agency and ask him to make a quick decision.

There’s a significant chance someone makes David Lee a take-it-or-leave-it offer that he’ll have to make a choice on almost instantly, and that could happen on the second or third day of July if the Knicks are still waiting on James. If Lee bolts, their best sign-and-trade asset will have disappeared, too. Gonna be an interesting July, eh?

I agree with Sheridan. Some savvy, second-tier team with cap space — I’m talking New Jersey, Washington, Sacramento, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City or Minnesota — will realize that their chances of landing a top-tier free agent like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade is next to nil, and will make a move on the Knicks’ backup plan (Lee) when they’re still wooing one of the big-name free agents. (By the way, when I say “second-tier,” I’m talking about the size of the market, the quality of the team and the franchise, etc. I would say that the Bulls, Knicks and Heat are top-tier free agent landing spots.)

If a team like the Nets makes Lee an offer averaging $10-$11 million per season and puts a time limit on it, it’s going to be tough for Lee to sit around while the Knicks figure out who they can and cannot sign. And if Lee is no longer an option, then there goes the Knicks’ best sign-and-trade chip, which is why Peter Vescey advocated last week that the franchise should re-sign Lee as soon as possible this summer.


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Where will Wade sign this summer?

Looking for a few different takes on whether or not Dwyane Wade is going to re-sign with the Heat? ESPN’s Free Agency Dime has a nice overview of all of their analysts’ opinions about where Wade will land this summer.

The consensus seems to be that Miami has the best bet of re-signing him, but that the Bulls are the next most likely option. Personally, I think the Heat will sign/acquire Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer and re-sign Wade. If the Cavs lose in the Eastern Conference Finals, or even in the Finals, then LeBron is the darkhorse.


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Knicks preparing for Plan B?

The title of Marc Berman’s New York Post piece — “LeBron-to-Knicks hope fading” — says it all.

With each passing day, as the Knicks disgrace themselves and the Cavaliers march to their potential first NBA championship, the Knicks’ chances of free-agent glory in landing LeBron James this summer gets more remote.

A bit dramatic, don’t you think? What if the Cavs lose in the Eastern Semifinals — wouldn’t all this talk just start back up again?

James clung to his mid-November policy of not talking about his free-agent options, but he has left enough hints to New York fans that the Knicks’ bid is a longshot.

In his lone appearance at the Garden, Nov. 6, James said in strong terms the only factor is whether he can win at his new destination. At All-Star weekend, he reiterated, “It’s all about winning.”

Well, it’s not all about winning, is it? I thought LeBron’s #1 goal was to become a “global icon.” But there’s a strong argument that says that to truly become a global icon, LeBron needs an NBA championship.

As bad as the Knicks may be, if LeBron sees a scenario where he and, say, Chris Bosh can play in New York (or even the LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio) then it’s hard not to think that the Knicks would be vastly improved in just one season. Throw in a few savvy vets willing to play for the minimum for a shot at the ring and suddenly the Knicks are an Eastern Conference power.

Team sources indicated D’Antoni would be very pleased to add overshadowed free agent Joe Johnson as a fallback. D’Antoni thinks Johnson is a great piece to build around.

But Johnson, the potential re-signing of David Lee and another mid-level free agent, does not put the Knicks in position to compete for a championship.

No, it doesn’t. I like Joe Johnson, but he’s turning 29 this June and Basketball Prospectus predicts Johnson’s three-year value to be the least amongst this summer’s big-name free agents.

It sounds like the Knicks are already doing some damage control in case the Cavs win a title this summer and LeBron stays put. In that case, I suspect Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami and the Knicks would be looking at the likes of Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, David Lee and Rudy Gay. Two of those players would probably get the Knicks to the playoffs, but they aren’t going to win a title anytime soon.


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