Dwyane Wade won’t be a Denver Nugget next season after all.
The 34-year-old shooting guard plans to sign a deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls, ESPN and Yahoo! reported Wednesday evening. Wade’s deal with Chicago is for two years and approximately $48 million, which is a hair less than the two-year, $52 million offer Denver extended his way.
The decision came hours after Wade held meetings with the Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in New York. The Bulls were not a part of those meetings, but still pulled off the acquisition anyway. In order for the deal to officially go through, Chicago will have to trade Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy to clear cap space.
Wade spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Heat. He won three championships, a Finals MVP and was elected to 12 All-Star games with the franchise. He averaged 19 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists and played 74 regular season games last season.
The Heat offered Wade a two-year contract worth $40 million, but it was not enough to get a deal done. Wade had taken several pay cuts in previous contracts with the Heat as they pursued other high-profile free agents. An extra $8 million, plus the allure of home, was apparently enough to pry Wade away from the only NBA franchise he’s ever played for.
Wade will start in the Bulls’ backcourt alongside point guard Rajon Rondo. Both are sub-30 percent 3-point shooters over their careers. Bulls’ star Jimmy Butler will presumably slide over to small forward.
Wade’s decision to choose Chicago over Denver and Miami likely means that Gary Harris is the Nuggets’ opening-night starter at shooting guard. Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has said repeatedly this summer that the starting two guard job is Harris’ — even after Denver selected shooting guards Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley in the first round of the draft.
The deal also means that the Nuggets will have plenty of cap space to use up next summer. They have more than $20 million right now, and the cap is set to make another big jump in a year’s time.
The Nuggets are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in three years. They’ve won 36, 30 and 33 regular-season games since that 2012-13 team went 57-25.