Will Dwyane Wade Go to China? NBA Star Offered Record Deal

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Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 25, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wade became a free agent at the end of last season and could now move to China. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade could be about to sign one of the most lucrative contracts of this free agency, despite not having received any offers from NBA teams.

According to separate reports by ESPN and Sportando, the three-time NBA champion has been offered a three-year deal worth $25 million by the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, a team in the Chinese Basketball Association.

The amount is before taxes and would make the 36-year-old the highest-paid player in China and it would also be one of the largest ever deals in terms of an NBA player joining an overseas team.

By comparison, the deal Josh Childress signed when he swapped the Atlanta Hawks for Greek club Olympiacos in 2008 paid him $6 million after taxes. Because of tax breaks from playing overseas, the three-year, $20 million contract was equivalent to $32.5 million with an NBA team and exceeded the five-year, $33 million deal the Hawks had offered him.

The offer for Wade comes just a week after the 2006 NBA Finals MVP signed a lifetime contract with Chinese sports company Li Ning, which he has represented since 2012.

Wade, who was in China for a promotional tour when the deal was announced, indicated he would make a decision on his future upon returning to the U.S.

"When I get back from China, I'll focus on that,'' he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press on July 18. "Right now, I'm focused on the game after basketball. Whatever happens in basketball, it happens. I've done everything that I can to this point to put myself [...] in this position I am today, where I can do something that hasn't been done globally yet. The basketball will take care of itself. I'll sit down and figure that out once I get back from this tour at some point.''

In recent years, a number of NBA players have moved to China. NBA journeyman Mike James played for the Golden Bulls in 2010, while Cleveland guard J.R. Smith joined the franchise during the 2011 NBA lockout.

Eddy Curry, who won the 2012 NBA title alongside Wade in Miami, spent the 2012-13 season with the Golden Bulls, while former Phoenix Suns guard Jerel McNeal had a 15-game stint in China in 2013 and former Los Angeles Clippers guard Willie Warren played for the team between 2015 and 2017.

Based in the city of Yiwu—in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, approximately 856 miles south of Beijing—the Golden Bulls play in the South Division of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Founded in 1995, the franchise changed name five times before settling on the current Golden Bulls moniker in 2009.

Wade could of course still receive an offer from an NBA team, although any deal will in all likelihood be nowhere near as lucrative as the one the Golden Bulls have put on the table.

Last season, the 12-time All-Star averaged a career-low 11.4 points in 67 games for the Cavaliers and the Heat, to which he was traded in February.

Wade averages 22.5 points per game in his career, but last averaged at least 20 points per game in a season in the 2014-15 campaign with the Heat.

Last week, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that the most Miami can offer Wade next season is the $5.3 million mid-level taxpayer exception, as the franchise is currently above the salary cap.