FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (TNS) — The last time LeBron James made a significant decision regarding relocation he made a point of keeping Dwyane Wade out of the loop, to save his friend the burden of having to carry a secret.
This time, Wade is taking a proactive approach as James decides whether to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers or head elsewhere next season, with the Miami Heat among speculated destinations.
In an interview on Fox Sports Radio, Wade said of his former Heat and Cavaliers teammate, "To me, I don't think it's a basketball thing. Obviously, you saw this year, he could get to the Finals, no matter what the circumstances are. I don't really think, for him, the basketball decision is saying, 'Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.' I think at this point in his life, it's more so of a lifestyle thing of where my family is going to be the most comfortable, where I'm going to be the happiest at. Because, basketball-wise, he's so great he can bring along and take along whoever."
That had many parsing Wade's words for hints — and had Wade headed Monday to Twitter for clarification.
"Let's let the record show," Wade posted, "I don't have any inside information whatsoever about his decision!"
During the 2014 offseason, when James left the Heat following four visits to the NBA Finals, including championships in 2012 and '13, to return to the Cavaliers, he purposely kept his decision from Wade as the two flew together from Las Vegas to Miami. James later said he did not want his friend to have to deal with such a secret.
Wade later said, "He called me the next day. But I knew then. Obviously he still had to say the final yay or nay, but I knew. I could tell."
As during that 2014 offseason, Wade again has his own free agency to deal with, mulling whether to return for a 16th NBA season, having returned to the Heat at the February NBA trading deadline.
The Heat, lacking salary-cap space or top-tier assets to include in a trade, are considered a longshot in what it setting up as another LeBron derby. The Heat utilized cap space and future draft picks to lure James as a free agent in the 2010 offseason. The Heat then lost James back to the Cavaliers in the 2014 offseason after Heat President Pat Riley had made a final pitch in Las Vegas shortly before that Wade-James flight back to South Florida.
NBA free-agency begins July 1, but it is possible James opts into the final, 2018-19, season on his contract in order to facilitate a trade in advance.
In the latest offshore line on James' future, per Bovada.lv, the Heat on Monday were given the ninth-longest odds amid the speculation.
Bovada, which has offered regular updates as James and the Cavaliers were on the way to being swept 4-0 in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, has its latest odds as Los Angeles Lakers at 7-to-4, Philadelphia 76ers 11/5, Houston Rockets 5/2, Cavaliers 5/1, San Antonio Spurs 8/1, Boston Celtics 12/1, Warriors 30/1, New York Knicks 30/1 and Heat at 40/1, as the last team listed.
Earlier Monday, SportsBettingDime.com listed only four teams as potential James landing spots, with all other teams, including the Heat, part of a 15/1 field proposition. That site had the Lakers at 3/2, 76ers at 2/1, Rockets at 6/1 and Cavaliers at 15/1, with the Heat at 100/1 for the 2019 NBA championship and 12/1 odds on Wade retiring before the start of next season.