The Denver Nuggets, armed with some $28 million in salary-cap space, continue to pursue Dwyane Wade, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Wade has made it known that he will not play for less than last season’s $20 million salary.
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The Miami Heat, at this point, have only $19 million in cap space. Denver and Dallas are teams Wade’s representatives have reached out to, sources said. Due to recently agreed-upon signings, both the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls have priced themselves out of the market for Wade.
Drafted in 2003 in the first round by the Heat, Wade has spent the entirety of his NBA career in Miami and has won three championships.
According to sources, Wade has grown frustrated with the Heat, as they prioritized Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside in free agency. Durant met with Heat representatives on Sunday in The Hamptons and is expected to make his free-agency decision Monday, while Whiteside reached a verbal commitment with Miami on a four-year contract that could be worth up to $98 million.
Over the years, Wade has twice taken pay cuts to help the Heat manage their salary cap, and he has taken short-term deals to help the team with flexibility. He signed one-year contracts each of the past two summers. He averaged 19 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists while playing in 74 games, his most in five years, this past season.
The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, have a free-agent recruiting meeting scheduled with Wade next week, after he returns from his European vacation, sources told Stein. Wade played collegiate ball at nearby Marquette. The Bucks, like the Knicks and Bulls, don’t presently have the requisite salary-cap space to sign Wade, but Milwaukee could get there if it finds the right trade for center Greg Monroe, who is widely believed to be available.
Although the strong belief leaguewide remains that the Heat and Wade will ultimately find a resolution, like they always do, sources say both Denver and Milwaukee are hanging around in case Wade decides it’s time to leave the only franchise he has ever known.
Wade’s representatives put out feelers to several teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, before the start of free agency. The Spurs are not interested, according to multiple NBA sources.
Information from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne was used in this report.