Prior to the latest developments, there were few signs that Dwyane Wade had any interest in leaving Miami.
How quickly things can change.
According to a Yahoo Sports report, Wade spent Friday afternoon meeting with the Chicago Bulls for the second time in two days.
News of a second meeting comes as a surprise, and it creates a pair of intriguing possibilities.
Even though a partnership with LeBron James in Chicago still appears to be a pipe dream, the notion is now far less absurd.
If both players are willing to take a substantial pay reduction, a deal would certainly be possible.
The Bulls are expected free up some additional cap room by moving Luol Deng and his $70 million dollar contract sometime in the very near future.
Although LeBron and Wade would receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million dollars less apiece by signing with the Bulls, the financial windfalls generated through potential endorsement sales would likely more than make up for that lost income.
By teaming Wade, James, and Derrick Rose together, the Bulls would have a young set of superstar triplets and be prepared to dominate the Eastern Conference in the years ahead.
The other more plausible possibility involves Wade and the wacky Chris Bosh forming a partnership in Chicago.
The Raptors have targeted Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson in a sign-and-trade for Bosh. Early in free agency, such a deal appeared very likely. As time has progressed, it now appears that Bosh might be willing to forgo a sixth year of big money to play with Wade or LeBron.
The Bulls have enough flexibility to offer two free agents around $90 million over five years. The trade of Deng would free up more cap space that could be used to bolster what is, at the moment, a practically nonexistent bench.
Wade and Bosh have let the world know that they are communicating closely in the free agent frenzy. The two dined last night in Chicago, and Wade is apparently taking some sort of role in Bosh’s ongoing documentary about the free agent process.
But would Wade really leave millions behind in Miami to return home to Chicago?
After questioning the loyalty of the Bulls’ franchise, Wade’s initial meeting with the team seemed more like posturing than anything else.
Wade could be concerned about what will happen if LeBron stays in Cleveland or heads to New Jersey.
The Heat could easily sign Bosh, but even then, the balance of power in the East would presumably go through wherever LeBron goes and through Chicago, which is likely to improve greatly even if it misses out on the big names.
Miami’s current roster consists of two players. Even with Bosh, Wade would be without a reliable point guard, a center, and any bench whatsoever.
The Heat have enough money to fill the holes, but having to go forward with as many as ten new teammates might not appeal to Wade.
Clearly, The Bulls and Nets present the most stable situations for free agents looking to win—and get paid.