Dwyane Wade talked about how the NBA is “different” than it used to be in how players court one another and it has influenced free agency.
“The league is different today,” Wade said. “The league is all about relationships, player relationships. Obviously presidents and GMs have their job to do to put teams together, but when it comes to free agency, that’s player relationships more than anything. It’s where an individual wants to go, so you have to feel comfortable with where you’re going and who you’re going with. And it starts in that process. Maybe you have a relationship with a guy, maybe you don’t, but it starts in that process when guys are able to reach out to you and you see.”
Wade readily admits how important it was that Jimmy Butler reached out to him during the process.
“If the star player on the team doesn’t reach out to me then I don’t think he’s really excited about me coming there,” Wade continued. “If Jimmy don’t reach out to me then I’m not coming to Chicago because I don’t think Jimmy wants me here. But Jimmy reaches out to me and says, ‘D, I want you to come,’ it’s a different — that’s simple right there. It’s hard to change my mindset and everything.”
Wade’s friendship and influence played a key role in Miami’s ability to sign both LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency in 2010.