LAS VEGAS -- The Chicago Bulls expect veteran guard Dwyane Wade to begin next season on the team's roster, despite speculation throughout the league regarding a potential buyout between the former All-Star and the team.
When asked Sunday whether he thought Wade would be bought out before the season begins, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said, "As of right now, no. I don't see that."
Wade, who had a player option for this season worth $23.8 million, told the Bulls he was opting into the final year of the deal on June 20, two days before the NBA draft. The Bulls pushed the button on a full rebuild the next night by dealing All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and 16th pick Justin Patton to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and seventh pick Lauri Markkanen.
Hoiberg's statements on Sunday echoed what Bulls executive VP John Paxson said on June 27, while introducing the players acquired in the Timberwolves' deal.
"I know [general manager] Gar [Forman] has spoken to Leon Rose, Dwyane's agent," Paxson said. "As far as a buyout, it has not been broached. I will say this, that in this type of scenario, it would have to benefit us. It would absolutely have to benefit us. Dwyane was a great pro last year, and he's been around a lot of different situations. He was in Miami when they had a couple rebuilding years as well. So right now we're operating under the assumption that he'll be here. But like I said, if that subject is ever broached by them, then it would have to be advantageous for us."
The widespread belief among team officials is that Wade won't give back enough money to make a buyout worth the Bulls' while and is content to start the season with the Bulls under the same lucrative deal. The odds remain very high that Wade would actually finish next season in Chicago, but a potential buyout closer to the February trade deadline figures to be broached later in the year.
Hoiberg says he is hopeful that Wade will serve in a leadership role in the Bulls' very young locker room.
"Dwyane, he's going to have an important role on this team as a mentor," Hoiberg said. "He's going to obviously play for us and hopefully play well. And take the role of leadership; it's going to be very important with him."
Hoiberg says he has been in contact with the 35-year-old a couple times since the Butler deal.
"We've talked a little bit," Hoiberg said. "He was over in Europe for an extended time. So we talked a lot through texts at that time. I'm planning to, at some point, to go out and see him soon."