MADISON | The Milwaukee Bucks wanted to sign Dwyane Wade but not at the risk of stunting what they believe to be solid and steady growth as a franchise.
That was the word from team president Peter Feigin when he joined “The Zone” on Sunday morning from Las Vegas where the Bucks are in the midst of NBA Summer League action.
“We wanted to be very careful not to get overzealous to bring Dwyane back [to Milwaukee],” Feigin said of the former Marquette star. “We wanted to be very smart about it.”
Milwaukee was among several teams that got a meeting with Wade last week in New York before he ultimately surprised everyone by spurning the only team he’d known in his 13-year NBA career — the Miami Heat — and signed with his hometown Chicago Bulls on a two-year, $47-million deal.
It was a contract that Milwaukee couldn’t come close to matching without making a significant move — likely moving center Greg Monroe and his $17.1 million salary — to create cap room. Feigin said there were talks about making the necessary moves, but doing so would have undermined what they’ve been trying to build with a young core under a new ownership group and a state-of-the-art arena coming in a few years.
“We did not want to sell-off two good parts of the team, a first-round draft pick and get desperate,” Feigin said. “We’re very happy with the base we have.”
While there were some that believed Wade was just using Milwaukee and the Denver Nuggets as leverage in getting the contract he wanted, the Bucks truly felt his interest was genuine.
“I think Dwyane’s agents, and Dwyane himself, came to us and said Milwaukee was one of his go-to options. He loved the young team,” Feigin said. “To Dwyane’s credit, he spent a lot of time talking with [co-owner] Marc Lasry and with [general manager] John Hammond, and it was very sincere. It’s a big, big move in the league to think about getting a Dwyane Wade. We were 50-50 at best just because of our constraints on the salary cap.”
Instead of paying Wade, the Bucks spent some of their available salary cap room to acquire guard Matthew Dellavedova (four-year, $38 million contract) from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade deal and added forward Mirza Teletovic from the Phoenix Suns on a three-year, $30 million contract.
“At the end of the day, it’s OK,” Feigin said of not getting Wade. “It really helps us next year, because unless there are major changes, it puts us, going into next year, in a terrific [position with] cap space to add yet another big salaried guy, which could be a game-changer.”