To put it mildly, Dwyane Wade‘s first season with the Chicago Bulls has not gone that great. The Bulls have been inconsistent all season, had drama within the team, are currently 10th in the East and Chicago’s “Three Alphas” of Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo reportedly don’t see eye-to-eye with coach Fred Hoiberg. And now, Wade’s season has ended due to injury.
Injuring his right elbow in Chicago’s 98-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Wade left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Wade told reporters afterwards that he heard a pop as soon as he injured his elbow, which was not a promising sign. An MRI later revealed the worst as on Thursday, as the Bulls announced that Wade had a small fracture in his elbow and will miss the rest of the season.
OFFICIAL: Dwyane Wade's MRI showed a sprain and a small fracture in the elbow. Wade will be out the remainder of the regular season. pic.twitter.com/SzKwnysq1I
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 16, 2017
The Bulls are a game behind the Pistons and Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, so they could still possibly make the postseason. And if the Bulls do make the playoffs, Wade could possibly be available to play:
Wade said if Bulls qualify and he's cleared, he'll play in playoffs. Also said its too early to think about how this affects option decision
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 16, 2017
But without Wade, Chicago will have a difficult time making the playoffs as they lack the depth at the guard position.
Chicago still has Butler of course but besides for him, the Bulls don’t have a lot of offensive talent. With Wade out, the Bulls will likely give more minutes to rookie Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. Chicago may also move Butler back to the shooting guard position and go big by playing Nikola Mirotic at small forward. But overall, there isn’t a lot of talent on the Bulls besides for Butler and with Miami playing quite well and Detroit being a far deeper team, Chicago’s hopes for making the postseason are likely dashed with Wade injured.
The other interesting aspect of Wade’s injury is how it will affect his future with the Bulls. Wade signed a two-year $47 million deal with the Bulls last summer and has a $23.8 million player option for next season. So Wade could opt out of his contract with the Bulls this season and sign with another team in the summer. This seems very likely to happen, especially since the Bulls have been very inconsistent and Wade is having one of the worst years of his career, averaging 18.6 points (the lowest since his rookie year) while shooting a career-low 43.3 percent.
$23.8 million is a lot of money to pass up though so Wade will have have an interesting decision this summer. But with the Bulls likely not heading to the playoffs, Wade could decide to join a team where he can experience more success than he has in Chicago.