The veteran guard and the team came to terms on a buyout Sunday. The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson first reported the news.
Wade commented on the decision, via Johnson:
"I just felt it was time for me, turning 36, that I want to be competing for a championship. I said when I got here, it was always a dream for me to play here. And getting that opportunity was special. And I can't even say it wasn't what everyone expected because we went to the playoffs. And trying to restore this franchise to respectability was our goal. The organization decided to go in a different direction, which I respect.
"I understand how business works in this league. They were going a direction that at this point of my career, I didn't want to be a part of. Being unselfish, these young players they're giving these opportunities to, they need to have that time to make mistakes and learn as they're growing and building what they envision. They don't need an old guy like me hanging around them."
ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski offered insight into Wade's possible landing spots:
Wojnarowski added the Cavaliers are the "clear front-runner" because of LeBron James, but he noted it will take time for Wade to decide upon his next destination. A source close to James thinks Wade will pick the Cavaliers, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
The 2016-17 season ended on a higher note than many expected for the Bulls, but they were still in need of a full-scale rebuild. The front office took notice in the offseason, sending Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 pick in this year's draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
The writing was on the wall for Wade at that point. On the Aug. 22 edition of ESPN's The Jump, ESPN.com's Nick Friedell revealed "the young players on the Bulls really can't stand [Wade]" and had grown tired of playing with the 35-year-old guard, which begins at the 3:07 mark of the video below.
A buyout makes sense for Wade as well. Instead of spending the 2017-18 season on one of the NBA's worst teams, he can potentially contribute to a playoff contender.
Though Wade is in the twilight of his NBA career, he can remain an effective as long as his minutes and role are limited. He can't single-handedly carry a team anymore, but he averaged 22.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per 36 minutes last year, according to Basketball Reference. He also shot 31.0 percent from beyond the arc, his highest percentage since 2008-09.
The Bulls, however, were worse when Wade was on the court. Chicago had a minus-2.4 net rating with Wade and a 2.1 net rating without him, per NBA.com.
Those numbers illustrate why Wade's next team should give him a more limited role in its rotation. If he is asked to carry too heavy a load, signing him will likely prove to be counterproductive.
As long as Wade is willing to accept coming off the bench, he could be a strong addition for any contender ahead of the regular season.