Dwyane Wade made some waves when he opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat. He made even bigger waves once rumors sparked that he may not be too willing to stay in South Beach.

Many feel Wade’s ever so mild interest in jetting the only team he’s ever known professionally is merely financially driven. Wade didn’t like the initial offer Miami gave him and the years of taking less money than he’s worth weighed on him and he decided to call the team’s bluff. They’ve reportedly answered with a solid second offer, putting a two-year, $40 million deal on the table.

Wade probably never really wanted to leave Miami. He opted out, like he always does, so the Heat could first assess who/what they can bring in during free agency and then whatever is left over would naturally go to Wade. Of course, this time around he didn’t like the numbers they showed him and he’s been a little slower to sign on the dotted line.

That brings the obvious question: is it just a matter of time before Wade caves and signs for whatever Miami offers, or will he actually do an about face and jet for somewhere else? The fact that Wade spurned the Milwaukee Bucks for what was supposed to be a Tuesday meaning likely tells us his response is somewhere in the middle; that he won’t be going to Milwaukee and the fact that he’s taken this long to decide is at the very least to make the Heat sweat a bit.

But what if Wade wants to make some noise? Could he actually bypass Miami and go somewhere else this year? It’s doubtful, but it’s worth exploring. After all, if Kevin Durant can dip OKC, anything can happen. The clock is ticking on Wade, though, so let’s take a look at his top options and make a prediction as to where he’ll be playing during the 2016-17 NBA season:

Return Home

With a meeting with the Bucks originally on Wade’s schedule, many thought there could be a realistic chance of Wade going back “home” to where he played college ball. The former Marquette star could have given the Bucks some consideration, but there are three things that combine into any deal Wade wants: money, a longer deal and a realistic shot at winning another title.

Wade would find little of that in Milwaukee, who has a nice collection of interesting talent but isn’t just adding a guy like Wade away from fending off the Cavs and/or Warriors or the like. It was a fun thought and Wade may have used an interested Milwaukee club as leverage against the Heat, but that meeting isn’t even happening now.

There is, of course, the “other” return home.

Wade is from Illinois, so it is still possible he’d find some interest in going to the Chicago Bulls, who traded away Derrick Rose and could still use a star scorer to pair with Jimmy Butler. It’s unclear if Wade would be interested in playing for a team that has been rebuilding on the fly, but they did also add Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez and have some young talent to work with off the bench. Bringing in Wade could shorten their rebuild, he’d return to his true home and he’d have a better shot at winning than in Milwaukee.

Mavs Bound?

There has also been some chatter about Wade teaming up with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, both because the Mavs have money to spend and they don’t have a ton of big moves under their belt. The only odd part is this isn’t a move that makes a ton of sense for Wade. The Mavs did bring back Deron Williams, signed Harrison Barnes and traded for Andrew Bogut, but they’re an aging fringe playoff team – not a championship contender.

Wade knows his best playoff odds rest in the Eastern Conference, not trying to jump ship and start over with a Mavs team just barely keeping their heads above water. Dallas is still in the mix, but they’re a sinking ship in terms of probability in signing Wade.

NYC Stack

The New York Knicks are another possibility, albeit another one we can probably slowly cross off. Prior to New York signing shooting guard Courtney Lee to a huge deal, Wade to the Knicks was a hot rumor gaining serious steam. New York had already made serious efforts to improve before hand, too, by signing center Joakim Noah and swinging a trade for point guard Derrick Rose.

Throw Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis into the mix, and New York starts looking a lot more attractive. Should Wade attach himself to that stack job, the Knicks could suddenly have one of the most star-laden starting fives in the entire league.

The main issue is the money, however, and the Knicks already landed their starting shooting guard in Lee. It’s still possible they can clear up the cash to land Wade and move Lee to the bench, but it’s looking doubtful.

LeBron Reunion

The story is pretty similar for a Wade to Cleveland dream, too. It’d sure be fun to see Wade team back up with LeBron James, while seeing Kevin Durant bolt to Golden State has to have James and Wade thinking of their own superstar dream team. It’s still unlikely, but NBA fans would love it and if Wade truly is upset with Miami’s latest offer, he could take less in a better situation merely out of spite.

That still doesn’t seem realistic, seeing as that “taking less” would be next to nothing at the moment and a very far cry from the $20 million per year he’s currently scoffing at.

Then again, if James wants Wade in town, he could always talk management into dealing Kevin Love or someone else to free up enough cash to make it happen. It’s still a long shot, however, as Wade is already 34 years old and has had knee issues. He’d be a tough long-term sell for the Cavs.

Miami Return

Dwyane Wade staying in Miami is what makes the most sense. Bolting for the Cavs to team back up with LeBron James is the only scenario that could play out, but he’d be taking a serious pay cut and he seems to love South Beach. Instead, Wade’s pouting and jockeying should get him the third year and extra cash he desires.

Miami still has a good team around him and if Chris Bosh can actually return at full strength, it’s worth arguing that the Heat may be Cleveland’s biggest threat. Wade would probably love the opportunity to push Miami past the Cavs. Of course, Miami has to bite the bullet and pay the man first. We suspect they will.

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