Bulls believe Wade is bound for Cavaliers; could finalize deal by Wed.
Dwyane Wade didn’t bother to leave a forwarding address.
Not that the Bulls felt like there was much mystery on where Wade would show up now that he is a free agent in the wake of Sunday’s buyout.
According to a front office source, all indications are that Wade would be reunited with good friend LeBron James, joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. And Wade could finalize a decision with the Cavaliers as early as Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The buyout – which reportedly involved the Bulls paying Wade about $16 million of the $23.8 million he was set to make – was the first topic of business for VP of basketball operations John Paxson to address on media day.
“Through the weekend, [general manager] Gar [Forman] and [Wade’s agent] Leon Rose were able to, with organization involvement, come to an agreement with Dwyane,’’ Paxson said. “I just want to say this: Obviously, we’ve chosen a different path. We understood Dwyane at this stage wants to play for a contending team. You know, when both sides can agree, it’s probably best in that situation that something would happen.
“I want to say Dwyane was very professional entirely through his time here. We have nothing but good things to say about him – professional, great player, can still play the game. We wish him well, and we’re happy he’s in a good place and will find a situation that’s best for him. We’re happy now that we can again, just clearly defining the direction we’re going.’’
Paxson did address the rumors that the young players didn’t like Wade, especially after he spoke out against their work ethic last January. According to Paxson, it was overblown.
“We talked earlier about some of the young guys, they were influence by Dwyane – his professionalism, his Hall of Fame career, they took notice of that,’’ Paxson said. “The bottom line is we chose a different path. When Dwyane acknowledged that he wanted to play for a contender and didn’t want to be part of a rebuild, look, we worked with him, he worked with us and it became something we were able to do this weekend.’’
Next order of business
With Wade gone and Nikola Mirotic extended for two years, Zach LaVine will be the next order of business, as the Bulls have already started early discussions on a contract extension.
“They’ve had some conversations,’’ LaVine revealed. “It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m going to let all that take care of itself. I know I’m a big part of this team and I’m excited to be in negotiations with them. I want to be here for a long period of time. If it’s now or later, I know it’s going to be done either way.
“But right now I’m focused on basketball and getting my knee healthy. But it’s always good to be in negotiations because it means you’re wanted like I said. So we’ll see where it goes. Still got a lot of time left to figure that out.’’
LaVine has been rehabbing back from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, and while there is no specific timetable, it won’t be a return for the start of the regular season.
“You can think you’re in great shape when you’re rehabbing, but once you get on the floor and get in a defensive stance and run and do the things that basketball requires, it takes some time,’’ Paxson said.