Dwyane Wade has been under the microscope over the course of the last couple years because of his deteriorating health. His numbers and minutes have been in steady decline the last few seasons. This has obviously broached the topic of how long Wade will remain in the NBA.
After his Sophomore season at Marquette 12 years ago, Wade suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee that ultimately led to him getting the meniscus removed. According to ESPN.com, Wade said “My knee problems and the things I’ve dealt with started from that,” he added “At that moment, if everyone looked ahead and said, ‘Dwyane’s going to have a 20-year career, maybe we should do something different,’ maybe I wouldn’t have [knee issues]. At that time it was to get me back on the basketball court and do what is best.”
Since being drafted out of Marquette in 2003, Wade has been one of the best players of the 2000s. His athletic play style — similar to those of Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose — has brought the Miami Heat three championships. This dangerous play style has contributed to his deteriorating health.
Wade has been in a steady decline since the 2010-2011 season (essentially when the knee issues became a huge reoccurring problem). His numbers have suffered as well, taking a dip in field goals made per game, field goals attempted per game, free throws made per game, blocks per game and points per game. He has also missed 58 games over the last three seasons.
So how long does he have? I personally believe Wade could be a productive co-star with Chris Bosh for a couple more seasons. Wades situation reminds me some of Grant Hill. Like Wade, Hill’s injury woes commenced in his late twenties. Hill battled injuries essentially for the second half of his career. Hill also got the famous “Kobe procedure” to help rejuvenate his ailing knees. Hill took a significant step back after the injuries kicked in. He went from perennial all-star to average player. Hill sacrificed numbers to play long but still fought with his knees nonetheless. I don’t see Wade battling with his knees for as long as Hill did.
Wade recently signed a two-year, $31 million contract after opting out of a two-year, $42 million contract. He is entering his 12th NBA season, one with high expectations due to the departure of LeBron James. Cognizant of this, Wade has reportedly been losing weight and training with longtime trainer Tim Grover. I fully expect Wade to play out the contract, then call it a career.