In a free agency that certainly shifted the landscape of the NBA, many fans saw some of their most beloved players leave town in pursuit of better deals. One of the most shocking was Dwayne Wade who after repeated failed contract negotiations with the Miami Heat, chose to return home to his native Chicago to play for the Bulls instead.
When the Los Angeles Lakers gifted Kobe with a two-year, $48.5 million extension without hesitation back in 2013, it seemingly set the bar on how future all-time greats would like to go out with their perspective teams.
So it should come as no surprise that fellow superstar Lebron James certainly thought Wade was deserving of such a contract. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion, Wade shared LeBron’s reaction to Wade’s free agency status at the time.
“They was in disbelief that I didn’t have any deal that I wanted. Bron always said when we was in Miami, he always said, “D-Wade is going to be like Kobe. He’s going to get that Kobe Deal.” So I think their disbelief was, “Why are you even a free agent? You shouldn’t even be.”
While he isn’t the D-Wade of old, his frustration is understandable after 13 years and three championships with a team he was never even the highest-payed player on. It would have been fair for Wade to assume he would be given the Kobe treatment into retirement, but as everyone knows by now, the NBA is a business.
With Pat Riley and the Miami Heat looking towards the future and hoping to position themselves to land another future star, it makes sense that they would want to conserve as much salary cap room as possible. It is simply unfortunate that fans won’t get to see Wade play his entire career with one team, much like Kobe and Tim Duncan.
The ‘Kobe deal’ may still be looked at as a bad thing by many, but it did show the loyalty the Lakers organization has toward its players.