Dwyane Wade isn’t about to let Gar/Pax tarnish his NBA legacy

At age 35, with three NBA championship rings and a legacy to protect, Dwyane Wade isn’t into rocking the boat.

So while his future with the Bulls now feels like a staring contest between the future Hall of Famer and the front office, it’s actually more of a waiting game for Wade. He has $24 million reasons to be a good soldier when training camp starts next week. And he already has been the top of the mountain — which continues to elude Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson after a series of missteps.

All eyes will be on Wade as he enters his 15th season, with the 6-4 hometown kid’s stay in Chicago possibly nearing its end. After fellow guard Jimmy Butler was dealt to Minnesota in a draft-night trade, Wade — who had exercised his $23.8  million option for the 2017-18 season — made it known in his circles that he wanted a buyout. According to one source, however, he has not gone to the front office with that request.

Don’t expect that to change. According to the same source, Wade is hoping the Bulls approach him first — with a suitable monetary amount.

Five other Bulls to watch:

1. Gar Forman. There may not be a more disliked general manager in Chicago, judging by the fan-funded billboard this offseason that called for his (and John Paxson’s) firing. Several inside observers have indicated that Paxson sits by, numb to all the dysfunction at this point. If the Bulls’ current rebuild fails and coach Fred Hoiberg falls short of expectations — especially since he was a Forman choice — Forman can’t possibly keep the GM job, can he?

2. Lauri Markkanen. The seventh overall pick in this year’s draft looked legit in the Summer League, then followed that up with a strong showing in EuroBasket 2017 over the last month. The 7-foot power forward is a key foundation piece in this rebuild and needs to show that throughout training camp.

3. Kris Dunn. A first-round pick for the Timberwolves last season, Dunn will have every opportunity to win the starting point guard spot from Day 1, but he has to showcase his high-ceiling athletic ability. Bringing an outside shot would also be a good thing.

4. Fred Hoiberg. He won’t have the firepower he had in his first two seasons as coach, but he gets a relatively young team that he can mold to play the game the way he wants it played. It’s sink-or-swim time for Hoiberg.

5. Robin Lopez. The hope is that the 7-foot center gets through camp healthy and playing well. After all, he’s the best trade chip the Bulls have these days. Keep those bags packed, Robin.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

 

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