By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Teams cannot officially start pursuing Dwyane Wade yet, because that would be tampering.
The same rules don’t apply to players.
So on Monday, even though Wade’s agreed-upon buyout deal with the Chicago Bulls has not yet become official, plenty of his NBA colleagues — particularly those in Cleveland, Oklahoma City and his former home in Miami — started lobbying the 12-time All-Star in earnest about where they think he should be playing this season.
“If I was to talk to that guy that would happen to possibly be like a brother to me, hypothetically, I would say I would love to have you in Miami,” said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, Wade’s teammate in Miami for 13 seasons. “I would love to finish my career with you. I would love to have you help me mold this young group of promising young men that have the chance to take the Heat culture to the next level.”
Wade isn’t expected to clear waivers until 5 p.m. Wednesday. He and the Bulls reached an agreement Sunday on the buyout, a person with direct knowledge told The Associated Press. Wade was due to make about $24 million this season in Chicago, and he told AP that he intended to take a couple of days to talk with players and teams about his options.
“My decision is a pure basketball decision and I’ll make the one that fits me best at this point in my career, and with what I feel I have to offer a team that needs what I have to offer,” Wade said in the AP interview.
It’s unclear how many teams have reached out to Wade’s representatives. Wade said he hopes to make a decision quickly.
Wade helped recruit LeBron James to Miami in 2010, and James is now hoping to do the same by getting his close friend to Cleveland.
“I would love to have D-Wade a part of this team,” said James, Wade’s teammates on Miami’s title teams in 2012 and 2013. “I think he brings another championship pedigree, championship DNA. He brings another player to the team who can get guys involved, can make plays and also has a great basketball mind.”
James said he will talk to Wade about what to do next.
“But it’s not up to me,” James said. “It’s up to D-Wade if he can clear waivers and then it’s up to our front office. But I hope we can bring him here. I would love to have him.”
Wade worked out with James this summer — that’s not uncommon, they vacation together, dine together and talk all the time anyway. Wade also spent some time this offseason in the gym with Paul George, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
George said he would be hitting Wade up on Snapchat and Twitter to do his campaigning. And now the Thunder have longtime Wade friend Carmelo Anthony, after Oklahoma City’s trade with the New York Knicks was finalized Monday.
“Come on, D,” Anthony said. “You know where you belong.”
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, like Heat President Pat Riley last week, raved about Wade on Monday — but, wary of tampering, didn’t come anywhere near close to openly lobbying for a reunion.
Heat point guard Goran Dragic had a very simple message.
“This is D-Wade’s home,” Dragic said. “We’ll see how he’s going to choose. But hopefully, he comes back.”
AP Sports Writers Cliff Brunt and Tom Withers contributed to this report.
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