Wade doesn't think he, James and Rose would have been good fit
There was a silly headline this week about how LeBron James would have loved to have Dwyane Wade join him in Cleveland this season.
Sure, James probably would have loved to get Kevin Durant even more, except the Cavaliers already have one of the highest payrolls in league history and could only offer the taxpayer midlevel exception of $3.5 million. The Cavs' salary stress is so bad, they haven't been able to re-sign J.R. Smith.
Of course, Wade borrowed one of James' moves this summer, choosing to return to his hometown and signing with the Bulls for $47 million over two years.
The Bulls will host the Cavaliers in a preseason contest Friday at the United Center. While Wade is expected to play, James isn't because of a sore back. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue has said many of the Cavs' rotation players will sit out this one.
But anytime Wade and James appear in the same sentence, there's a tendency to think about the summer of 2010 and the decision that transformed the NBA.
James and Chris Bosh created arguably the league's first superteam by joining Wade in Miami as free agents, but only after all three seriously considered the Bulls. On Thursday, Wade took a deeper look at how free-agency played out that summer.
"I mean, this was a place I wanted to play," Wade said. "It was a place that LeBron also loved. We loved the city of Chicago. It's a great market as well. Obviously, the sunny sun of Miami is great too. We had two great choices ... because we wanted to play together, us three, we decided to do it (in Miami)."
Remember, there was a time when the Bulls were considered the favorite to land James. A few days after his Cavaliers were eliminated by Boston in the second round of the playoffs, James called Derrick Rose to discuss the possibility.
There was a rumor the Bulls were willing to trade Luol Deng to the Los Angeles Clippers in order to create more cap space. But Wade acknowledged Thursday he didn't think he, James and Rose would have worked together.
"They did have a young Derrick Rose. He got MVP that next year," Wade said. "So you're already talking two guys who are ball dominant (Wade and James).
"And then you have a young up-and-coming star in the league who is ball dominant. At that time, I don't think it would've worked out for us. We took our two ball-dominant selves away from having three guys as ball dominant."
It's all water under the bridge now. The belief is James soured on the Bulls because he didn't think Rose wanted him there. Rose went on to win MVP in 2010-11 and the Bulls posted the best record in the regular season.
But after the Bulls lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, the teams went in different directions. The Miami Power Trio won two titles and reached the Finals all four years together. The Bulls were not the same after Rose suffered a torn ACL early in the 2012 playoffs.
Wade insisted the idea of bringing James and Bosh to Miami was not planned years ahead of time, as many have speculated. The three played together at the 2006 FIBA World Championships, then all three signed contract extensions with options that allowed them to become free agents in 2010. Meanwhile, Miami's Pat Riley did everything he could to clear cap space for three max salaries.
Those are reasons people thought Wade might have come back from the '06 World Championships or '08 Olympics and told Riley what could be possible. Not true, Wade maintained.
"Crazy notion. I wish we were that smart. Thank you for the credit for seeing in the future," he said. "How did we know the Heat could afford three players?
"I never thought me and LeBron would play together. It was a question posed to me, y'all can ask, (Heat owner) Micky Arison asked me a year or two before, you think LeBron would like to come to Miami? I said, 'You've got a 0.000001 percent chance.' He ended up coming, but I had no idea. "
Wade can look back with no regrets, obviously. He -- but mostly James -- endured some backlash from fans disappointed that three NBA stars chose to align. The intrigue built interest in the NBA, he won two more championships and left Miami with great memories.
"I just love the fact that players have the ability to control their own destiny," Wade said. "That was a great moment for us: Three young African-American kids got the opportunity to control their own destiny and call their own shots. That's what we wanted. Our game is not taking a hit, our game has only grown."
• Get the latest Bulls news via Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.