Heat fans can breathe again, at least for the night: Dwyane Wade has wrapped up his second meeting in as many days with the Chicago Bulls, and he left without picking up a pen.
"No signing imminent," his agent texted Ira Winderman. So far, the flirtation looks like a good bit of due diligence, so we've got that going for us.
The Bulls want to land MV3 for his skills, to be sure, but also to use as bait -- the meeting came on the eve of the Bulls' pitch to LeBron James, and Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Chicago wanted to use a commitment from Wade to help sway The King.
Making things even more interesting/terrifying, fellow free agent Chris Bosh joined Chicago reps, Wade, and the two players' mutual agent Henry Thomas for part of the meeting. The Bulls can attempt to sign James, Wade, and Bosh, but finances (and reality) dictate they are more likely to snag a Wade-James or Wade-Bosh partnership.
Assuming, that is, the Heat can't pull it off first.
Wade shrugged when asked if the Bulls had made him an offer during the two-hour meeting, which he said he agreed to at the team's request.
"Things are getting very interesting," he said. He was asked whether James will have any influence on what he does.
"I can't say. We're both going to make our own decisions," Wade said, then added: "We're real good friends."
Earlier in the day, Wade teased the media about the New York Knicks, saying "I'm in a "New York state of mind," as he entered the Peninsula Hotel for a meeting. The Knicks were the fourth team in two days hoping to lure Wade away from the Heat.
"It was a good meeting, it was a real good meeting and I will say I'm intrigued,'' he said, declining further comment before driving away from a downtown hotel. Wade met with the Bulls and then the New Jersey Nets on Thursday, and he heard from the Heat when free agency opened.
As Wade talked with the Knicks, Heat president Pat Riley was spending about three hours in Cleveland with James, with whom Wade would love to team up with next season. And given the interest Wade is showing other clubs, it's obviously incumbent upon Riley to deliver a star to Miami.
What could complicate matters for the Heat, Wojnarowski says, is that Wade and James would like to play together, but neither want to commit to the other's team. That's where Chicago comes in, and where the Bulls sport a roster of young stars like All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Heat have a gaping blank sheet and nothing but cap space. Promising, of course, but nowhere near tangible.
Chicago has nearly $30 million in salary cap room available, which enables them to offer two players a five-year, $87.6 million contract. Both James and Wade can be offered more elsewhere, including Miami.
Wade is expected to return to Florida next week, and it's believed that's when Pat Riley will make his final pitch. Wade is scheduled to join Alonzo Mourning Tuesday for news conference for the upcoming Summer Groove, for which he plans to play in an all-star game July 18.