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Dwyane Wade agrees to deal with Chicago Bulls

By Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY

Dwyane Wade seemed part of a dwindling number of players — right there with Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki — who would spend their entire NBA career with one team.

Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are synonymous. Or at least were.

After 13 seasons and three NBA championships, Wade has decided to leave the Heat and join the Chicago Bulls, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

It’s a two-year, $47.5 million deal for Wade, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

It is a stunning decision, considering Wade’s connection to Heat fans, the city and South Florida. In a note to the Associated Press, Wade wrote, “I look back with pride and amazement at all that we accomplished.”

To create cap space to sign Wade, the Bulls plan to send guard Jose Calderon to the Los Angeles Lakers and send guard-forward Mike Dunleavy to the Cleveland Cavaliers, two people with direct knowledge of the those deals told USA TODAY Sports.

Wade joins a Bulls team that includes Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler, Robin Lopez, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis and 2016 first-round draft pick Denzel Valentine.

The Heat and Wade had done this song and dance before — as recently as last season — only for the two sides to come to terms on a deal. Listening to Wade and Heat president Pat Riley after the season, one was inclined to believe they would reach another deal and continue the longstanding partnership.

“I don’t want to be on the market at all,” Wade told reporters.

And Riley said, “Compensation to a player is not just a way to get paid and to live your life. Compensation to a player is about recognition and respect and place. We know where he belongs … He’s a lifer. What he’s done in this city over the last 13 years is irreplaceable, and so we’re going to do the right thing.”

After those comments were made, the relationship deteriorated – to the point where Wade wanted to leave the only team for which he has played.

Why the acrimony now? After years of financial sacrifice to accommodate roster building and championship runs, Wade wanted to get paid, and the Heat wanted to protect salary cap flexibility.

From Wade’s perspective, it’s easy to see why he’s jilted. The Heat put a premium on retaining Hassan Whiteside at nearly $25 million a season, chased Kevin Durant in free agency, and Wade may have wondered where he fit in Miami’s list of priorities after 13 seasons with the franchise, three championships and a 2015-16 season in which he played 74 games and averaged 19 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and shot 45.6% from the field.

Wade, who was born in Chicago and grew up in nearby suburbs, had sacrificed financially before — when the Heat formed the Big 3 of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and in 2014, when he opted out of his contract and left money on the table the summer James returned to Cleveland.


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