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It's probably just a coincidence, but we can't help but notice the symbolism.
On a day when Dwyane Wade officially refused a contract extension from the Miami Heat, Wade also happened to be in Chicago, his conspicuous hometown, for a charity function. As Wade told the Miami Herald:
"Yeah, that's no longer a conversation we're really having right now,'' Wade told The Miami Herald at his Chicago area "Wade's World" function. "We've talked about it all summer. We know where they are -- they know where we are. We both want the best. But the focus is only on trying to get better than we were last year. And then we'll get back to the table and look at everything."
A few caveats here. One, this is no big surprise. Wade was always going to turn down that contract extension, because he can get a much bigger, much more lucrative deal when he becomes a free agent next summer. He can also freely sign somewhere else if he's sick of being on the Heat, which he may or may not be.
The summer of 2010 will be a free agent spending bonanza, and Wade is wise to wait on the cash.
Two, just because Wade's in Chicago doesn't mean he's keen to return here. ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg recently argued -- effectively at that -- that Wade might prefer his distance from his hometown. He can treat Chicago like so many young people treat their hometowns: as places to be visited a few times a year when it's convenient. Who wants to live by their families all the time anyway?
But the bottom line is that no matter how many caveats we construct, these rumors will persist until Wade signs on the dotted next summer. His Chicago connection is too much for our wandering NBA minds to handle. It makes too much sense.
In the end, Wade might not even be the player Bulls fans should pine over. After all, the Bulls already have an athletic, penetrating star guard. Who they really need is Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony. But until the frenzy dies down, Wade will be top of mind in the Windy City. There are worse scenarios to imagine.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.