NEW YORK: Dwyane Wade, a three-time NBA champion with Miami, is set to join his hometown Chicago Bulls following 13 seasons with the Heat, the US media reported Wednesday night (Thursday in Manila).
The 34-year-old free agent reportedly balked at a two-year, $40 million deal from the only franchise he has known while making a dozen all star teams.
Wade reportedly was seeking at least $50 million and the Bulls were willing to meet the demands of the Chicago native.
Heat owner Micky Arison wished Wade good luck with his new team on Wednesday.
“Thank you @Dwyane Wade for a great 13 yrs! You’ve had a tremendous impact on our community and our organization. We wish you all the best,” Arison said in a tweet.
The Heat no doubt figured Wade was expendable as injuries — especially knee problems—have cut down his playing time over the past few seasons.
This past season he played a career low 30.5 minutes a game and averaged 19.0 points per game, which equaled his lowest total since his rookie season in 2003-04.
He was also reportedly upset with Miami making a priority of trying to re-sign Hassan Whiteside and attempting to woo Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City.
The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday night that the Bulls are preparing to offload the contracts of Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy in order to clear enough salary cap space to sign Wade.
Wade has made over $300 million in a career where he teamed with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to championships in 2012 and 2013 after winning one with Shaquille O’Neal in 2006.
Before reports surfaced about Wade going to Chicago, he had been linked to the Denver Nuggets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wade, who played on the 2008 US Olympic gold medal team of NBA stars, has never been the Heat’s top-paid player.
The Denver Nuggets reportedly pitched as much as $52 million for two years while Bulls guard Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler had been pushing for Wade to come play for his hometown club.
Meanwhile, Ray Allen, two weeks shy of his 41st birthday, was looking at signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
ESPN reported Allen’s representatives reached out to the Warriors, while Cleveland.com said he had contacted the Cavaliers of his interest in returning to the NBA after two seasons off.
He also reportedly has shown interest in the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs as he seeks a third title after crowns with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013.
In 18 NBA seasons, Allen averaged 18.9 points and made 40 percent from beyond the thee-point arc