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Family has Wade thinking Chicago

7/5/2010

Dwyane Wade began the free-agency period in Chicago, holding meetings with the Bulls and Nets on Thursday and the Knicks on Friday. But it was a second meeting with the Bulls on early Friday evening that has everyone reassessing where Wade stands.

Wade met with the Bulls for a second time on Friday, but left the meeting without making a formal commitment to the Bulls.

The 2½-hour meeting included the Bulls' front office, Wade and his agent Henry Thomas.

"Things are getting very interesting," Wade said after the meeting.

The same source told ESPN.com earlier on Friday that Wade went into the meeting leaning toward committing to the Bulls. After the meeting, Wade had still had not committed, according to the source. The source said he was still torn between Miami and Chicago and was waiting to see what LeBron James and Chris Bosh would like to do. Wade would prefer to play with Bosh in either Miami or Chicago and is also open to playing with LeBron.

Wade is happy in Miami and knows the Heat can offer him roughly $30 million more to stay at home. Wade has a familiarity in Miami and is loyal to the team. A number of league sources have said that Wade is flirting with the Bulls to get the Heat to be more proactive in recruiting free agents or to create drama to his documentary that he's filming about the free agent process.

However, a source close to Wade told me that other factors, both basketball and personal, have Wade seriously considering leaving Miami for Chicago.

Wade had dinner with Bosh in Chicago on Thursday night and according to the source, one topic of discussion was the advantages of playing with the Bulls versus the Heat.

The source said Wade is unclear how the Heat, who currently have just two players under contract, will be able to build a championship contender around him given salary-cap constraints. While the Heat have the money to bring in one more max player (and possibly a second if they do a sign-and-trade), the team will have to fill the rest of the roster with minimum salary players.

The Bulls on the other hand, already have several key players including Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in place. If the Bulls can work out a deal to ship Luol Deng's contract out of town, they would have the funds to add James or Bosh to the puzzle, too.

Wade also has multiple ties to Chicago -- a home and family, including his mother, a pastor whose church in the city was purchased for her by her son. But far and away the most important consideration is his two children Zaire and Zion. Wade is recently divorced and the custody of his children is still up in the air. There are concerns that, given the frequent travel tied to being a NBA player, he won't be able to spend quality time with his children during the season if he doesn't stay in Chicago.

Wade alluded to as much in an interview with Channel 5 in Chicago on Saturday.

"At the end of the day, your decision goes on what's best for you and your family," Wade told Ch. 5. "The organizations I've been brought in to meet with are all good organizations and all can add something to my life, and not just basketball-wise. To me it's about what makes 40 years of my life and not just about the next 10."

At the end of the day, it could be his family that makes the decision for him.

"You go through a whole season, even the last two seasons, and feel incomplete in a way, no matter what kind of success you have, because you don't have the most important thing to you with you," Wade told the Associated Press two weeks ago. "My boys. To be able to have this relationship with them as I have since this summer, it's been probably the best feeling I've had since winning the championship. I don't think people really understand that."