All the money Dwyane Wade left on the table to help the Heat
Dwyane Wade won three championships as a member of the Miami Heat in his illustrious NBA career, but it wouldn’t have been possible without his selflessness.
Overall, in real terms, Wade left about $6.5 million on the table during his tenure with the Heat, with most of that actually coming after LeBron James left Miami during the summer of 2014. That offseason, Wade opted out of what would have been a $20.2 million salary to provide the Heat with more financial flexibility to restructure the roster, and he instead took $15 million, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
But before that, Wade sacrificed to make himself the third-highest-paid player on the team during the summer of 2010 when James and Chris Bosh joined the Heat.
Think about that for a second. Miami was Wade’s team. He was the original. He was drafted by the Heat back in 2003. James and Bosh were leaving their teams to join his. And yet, Wade was okay with both James and Bosh earning more than him for the betterment of the club.
You might think it’s nothing major, as Wade did not lose all that much money that summer ($300,000), but you have to take player egos into account. Even if it means one dollar or one cent, some players want to be the top-paid guy on the squad just for alpha male reasons. And in the case of Wade, he would have had every reason to desire that.
Again, the Heat were his team. It wasn’t like Wade was leaving the Heat to join James’ Cleveland Cavaliers or Bosh’s Toronto Raptors, so, if anything, you would think James and Bosh would accommodate Wade and yield to him as the elder statesman.
Not only that, but Wade already had a title under his belt at the time, as he had won a ring alongside Shaquille O’Neal back in 2006.
But Wade didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to win more championships.
And, of course, he did.
The trio of Wade, James and Bosh spent four years together, and all four years, the Heat went to the Finals, first suffering a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and then notching back-to-back titles with victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in 2013.
The Spurs got their revenge and ended Miami’s reign in 2014, but by then, Wade had already fulfilled his legacy, and James had just begun establishing his. Bosh? He will never really be viewed as one of the best ever, but he is a future Hall of Famer, and don’t think for a second that his two rings won’t play a huge role in him getting in on the first ballot.
Heat president Pat Riley said that he regrets not giving Wade a max deal during the 2014 offseason, perhaps feeling guilty that Wade had sacrificed before and sacrificed again that summer. When taking this into account, the amount of money Wade missed out on from Miami is quite a bit more, and he also could have pushed for more than a minimum contract in his final season.
But, honestly, I don’t think Wade really cares at this point. With his career coming to a close, he will look back at all of the banners he raised in AmericanAirlines Arena and all of the lifelong friendships he forged. That money? It’s no big deal.