Dwyane Wade wasn’t in the plans for the Bulls when they entered free agency late Thursday evening.
It only took about 20 hours of craziness to throw conventional plans out the window.
As first reported by The Vertical, the Bulls became one of four teams to jump into the Wade pool late Friday evening, after there was more and more talk around the league about the veteran guard’s unhappiness with contract talks in Miami.
The report also said that Dallas, Denver and Milwaukee were interested, but the Bulls do have over $20 million in cap space to mess around with, and Wade is seeking at least a $20 million-a year deal.
If the Bulls do aggressively pursue the three-time NBA champion and hometown kid, they definitely have their reasons.
They lost E’Twaun Moore to New Orleans after he agreed to a four-year, $34 million deal, met with Rajon Rondo, but watched him leave town without an agreement, and then of course had to endure the bigger news concerning a deal between free agent Joakim Noah and New York finally agreed on.
So much so that Noah tweeted out a picture of himself wearing a Knicks hat earlier in the day.
The Wade news, however, was at least something for the organization on a day of misses. Not that Wade and the Bulls would be doing their first free-agent dance, either.
It was back in 2010 that Wade met with the Bulls, and seemed poised to make the move, playing alongside Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Noah.
When the smoke cleared, Wade was back in Miami with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and the Bulls felt a bit played. They then had to watch that dynasty win two NBA championships, while the Bulls went in a very different direction.
The news that Noah was joining Rose in New York was just another reminder of that, closing a nine-year career with the Bulls, where Noah may not have been the team’s superstar, but he was its heart.
Who would have ever guessed that the closest this group would get to reaching the mountain top came after Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, as they dominated James, Wade and the Heat, 103-82, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series?
Miami went onto win four straight games, starting a domino effect of what was a supposed to be a story of an up-and-comer, but instead turned into a Greek tragedy.
Rose’s knees went, and his team-first attitude soon followed. Then it was a series of missteps by the front office with the biggest coming when they tried to all but sabotage Tom Thibodeau’s final season as coach.
Even with them telling the likes of Rose and Noah not to bust their butts for Thibodeau any longer, as well as consistently holding the two players out of drills and handcuffing the coach with minutes restrictions, Thibodeau willed the Bulls to a 2-1 series lead in the 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With Pau Gasol sidelined, it could have been a 3-1 series lead if James wouldn’t have hit a game-winner at the horn.
Instead, it was more heartache, and more what could have been.
The slow dismantling was quickened after the disappointment of this season, and now Rose and Noah will be elsewhere when the season tips off next October.
Where the Bulls will be is still a work in progress, as the front office is now hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.