Dwyane Wade is leaving the Heat for the Bulls (according to The Vertical), and has every right to do so. Chicago is where Wade grew up, and offered the three-time NBA champion more money than Miami, which was asking him to take a hometown discount for the third time in the last six seasons.
In other words, the Heat asked Wade to take a hometown discount, and his actual hometown swooped in with more cash.
This reminds again of just how rare the contractual approach of Dirk Nowitzki is in professional sports. It isn’t just that Dirk has left money on the table in his career, but that he has done so consistently.
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The last two seasons, Nowitzki has made a total of $16.2 million, well below the amount of money his production on-the-court has justified. It’s just always been about winning and helping the organization (it also likely helps that there isn’t an NBA team in Wurzburg, Germany seeking his services).
Even the players, like Wade, who have previously taken less for their franchises, almost always chase a payday at the twilight of their careers. Following his 18th season and signing what is almost certainly the final contract of his career, Nowitzki once again took significantly less cash than he could have, agreeing to a two-year, $40 million deal, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. The greatest player in Mavericks franchise history could have earned as much as $31 million per season.
Again, Wade has earned the right to decide to leave the city where he built his legacy. But financial decisions like this one continue to illuminate the devotion Dirk has shown to the city of Dallas. Nowitzki is a Hall-of-Fame talent on the basketball court, but it is his loyalty that is truly the rarest of the many elite qualities he possesses.