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Wade has traveled to New York for meetings that will include the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, league sources said.
The Chicago Bulls had a meeting with Wade set, but canceled it because of scheduling problems, sources said. If Wade is still serious about joining the Bulls, Chicago could travel to meet him on Thursday, sources said
The Nuggets have offered Wade a two-year, $52 million contract, league sources said.
The Heat and Wade’s camp set up a meeting Wednesday that will include owner Micky Arison and Wade, league sources said.
Denver president Josh Kroenke, general manager Tim Connelly, coach Michael Malone and director of pro personnel Jared Jeffries met with Wade for two and a half hours on Wednesday, sources said.
Wade’s acrimonious discussions with the Heat have led him to taking the next step with interested teams, which could turn out to be a way for the three-time NBA champion to leverage a third guaranteed contract year out of Miami – or the beginning of the end of his 13-year run with Miami.
Denver drafted shooting guards Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley in the first-round of this year’s draft – and have a 21-year-old starting shooting guard, Gary Harris, who was a first-round pick in 2014.
The possibility of a guaranteed third year on his contract has emerged as a priority for Wade in the marketplace, league sources said. So far, Denver has resisted the third year, but Chicago has discussed a contract structure that includes a partial guarantee on the third year, league sources said.
The Miami Heat have countered with a two-year, approximately $40 million offer, but Wade seems determined in his desire for a longer term contract, league sources said.
Wade’s been unhappy with a lower initial offer from Miami, which was partly due to the need to re-sign center Hassan Whiteside to a maximum contract and the ultimately failed pursuit of All-Star forward Kevin Durant. Nevertheless, Wade has been aggressive in the marketplace, letting teams know that he’s serious about considering a move out of Miami, sources said.
In the end, this could all be a leverage push to make Miami pay him his market salary, but the Nuggets and Bulls have been willing to ride out the process with him, sources said.
Wade, 34, had an excellent season for the Heat, averaging 19 points and leading a depleted roster to a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Wade has taken less than his maximum-salary value on three straight deals to allow the Heat to supplement the roster with top talent.
Wade had been the cornerstone of the recruitment of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Heat, which led to two NBA titles with that core. There’s some risk in Wade’s stance, because there could come a point in which Miami ownership and management balks, refuses to offer additional guaranteed years and challenges Wade to leave the franchise.