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What Had Happened Was

What Had Happened Was: 7/7/16

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How much are loyalty and optics and family worth? About $7 million, before taxes, Dwyane Wade answered emphatically Wednesday night.

Despite recent chatter that Wade was seeking a contract with a guaranteed third year in it, the Miami Heat’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals and win shares (but never the team’s highest-paid player) announced he was accepting a two-year, $47 million deal from the Chicago Bulls.

In theory, this might look and feel like a money-motivated decision. The Heat had offered Wade a two-year, $40 million contract and weren’t willing to budge. Then, Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, were both liking tweets that sure seemed to be about money. Then they took a higher offer.

If this was solely about money, though, Wade would be teaming up with Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay — the Denver Nuggets offered him a two-year, $52 million contract only to be shut down. Despite the two bigger offers, only one team — the Heat — was offering a deal in a state without income tax. Wade was offered more money by other squads, but it’s also fair to ask just how much. So if he’s not championship chasing or going after the fattest check … what then?

So far, Wade is selling the same tale LeBron James did when he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers: I’m coming home. I always wanted to come home. But it’s hard to believe a desire to play in Chicago is what motivated this move, especially considering just how recently Wade and the Heat both spoke publicly about wanting to stay together.

In February, Wade said this to the Miami Herald: “The whole free agency thing, I didn’t want to be in it last summer; I don’t want to be in it this summer,” Wade said. “I don’t want to be on the market at all … I’m not curious at all. I want to get to it [with the Heat]. I want to be able to sign my deal and move on and not have to deal with any rumors, any free agency, any this, any that. This is where I want to end my career. So we’ll figure it out.”

Three months later, Heat team president Pat Riley followed suit: “Compensation to a player is not just a way to get paid and live your life,” he said. “Compensation to a player is about recognition and respect and a place. And so, we know where he [Dwyane Wade] belongs. He’s a lifer. What he’s done in this city over the past 13 years is irreplaceable. So, we want to do the right thing. There’s no doubt.”

The relationship crumbled at some point between then and now. Exactly why is unknown and might not be for a good while. It could have been caused by Wade looking around, dumbfounded, asking himself why he isn’t the club’s highest priority if he’s also its best player ever. Asking why Hassan Whiteside got the max and why Goran Dragic gets paid more than him and why Riley had to hang in The Hamptons waiting on Kevin Durant’s decisions before he gave Wade some of the money he wanted.

But you can also see why the Heat didn’t blink either. Wade has sacrificed some $25 million over his career, but the Heat had nothing more to offer Wade than what they did without trading pieces and picks (including Justise Winslow, inexplicably, if you believe this). That Kobe Bryant contract that the Los Angeles Lakers were saddled with ( two years, $48.5 million) is only a million more than what Wade signed for with the Bulls. Riley wasn’t about to make that same mistake in Miami. This is also the best time for the Heat to reload, if they were ever so inclined. There’s a deep draft class and a deeper crop of free agents awaiting. Now, Riley will have a boatload of money and roster space to play with.

Maybe Riley dared Wade to leave and was OK with the end result, no matter Wade’s decision. Maybe Wade felt disrespected enough that he was always going to leave if the Heat weren’t willing to match his better offers. Either way, both men learned an important lesson about the other on Wednesday:

He wasn’t bluffing.




Literal blessings to singer Ciara and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on their marriage Wednesday. And for those who stand for rapper Future, Ciara’s ex-fiance, ya’ll might just get a scorned-ex mixtape out of this, so all sides are a winner here.


It hadn’t even been 24 hours since the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before another black man died after an interaction with police. In Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a woman named Lavish Reynolds streamed a Facebook Live video in the aftermath of her boyfriend being shot in front of her 4-year-old daughter.

The man, Philando Castile, was shot after informing the officer, who pulled the couple over for a broken taillight, that he had a gun on him, which he was licensed to carry, though he was reaching for his license in his wallet. According to what Reynolds said in the video, “The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.” As the video goes on, the officer continues to hold a gun on the three people in the car as Castile bleeds in the driver’s seat.

Reynolds was eventually told to get out of the car, and she is separated from her phone, which continues to record the altercation. Police recovered said gun from the scene, but have released few other details.

The following video contains graphic footage:




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On Wednesday, our friend David Dennis Jr. broke down Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors — and did so with precision.

Durant must have felt alone in the last few years as he watched Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti trade away James Harden to the Houston Rockets in a cost-cutting measure that seemingly delayed his chance at winning a title by years. The Harden trade showed a lack of urgency and a willingness to risk years getting back to a championship level. For general managers and owners who control teams for decades, these years are less precious than Durant’s, who has less than a decade to collect rings and cement his legacy as one of the greats of his generation. Curry understands that need to win — and incidentally just how fragile dynasties can become when an injury is just around the corner. Warrior Draymond Green understands that need to win. They can relate to Durant on the same level of needing to cement their greatness with more rings. And most importantly, they can give Durant the validation that he’s been looking for in the form of his first championship. Durant made the decision to go to Golden State in a move that will ultimately serve him most of all. And why would he do anything else? Some will call Durant weak for his decision. Some will call him a quitter for leaving Oklahoma City. But if his time in Golden State goes like he expects, all of those people will have to call him a champion. Ask Rose what he would prefer.


Ryan Cortes is a staff writer for The Undefeated. Lemon pepper his wings.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.