Yesterday, Miami Heat star and current NBA free agent Dwyane Wade pleasantly surprised the social media world with what’s being considered as one of the greatest geo-filters of all-time:
That’s Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and LeBron James in the banana boat geo-filter – also know as the NBA’s version of the Super Friends. Last year, when the foursome were vacationing together – and where that EPIC photo came from – it took the social media world by storm. Rumors flew left and right about a Super Team, only for all four players to return to their teams and for us to be graced with such a legendary picture.
Fast forward to yesterday: Wade, James and Paul are back at it again while Anthony is on tour in New York with the Men’s USA Basketball team preparing for the Olympics. We’d heard earlier this year that the four friends have a desire to play together on a team in the near future, but it’s always been deemed as unlikely due to the logistics of the NBA business.
With Paul and Anthony under contract with the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks respectively, LeBron weighing a player option to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it looking like a guarantee that Wade would return to Miami for life, this year’s vacation looked like just that: a vacation – a time for summer fun and, of course, banana boats.
As it turns out, banana boats might not just be great for vacation fun, but for negotiations and brain storms as well…
First came this:
With initial talks with Heat going slowly, Dwyane Wade letting it be known he's open to other offers: https://t.co/xHViyVgpGF— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 29, 2016
And later, this:
LeBron James will not exercise his player option with the Cavs for next season, according to agent Rich Paul. Deadline was Wed @ midnight— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2016
Wait a second, was the future of the NBA just decided on… a banana boat?
Let’s take this case by case, really quick:
1. Wade: This one’s a bit surprising. It’s always been thought that Wade would finish his career in Miami. We know how close he is with James after their four years together with the Heat, but the notion has always been that there would be a chance James could return to South Beach rather than Wade pursuing options elsewhere. Could this be the final straw for Wade, who has been nothing short of the face of the franchise for the Heat, but has constantly taken paycuts for the benefit of the team? With a plethora of key free agents (Hassan Whiteside, Luol Deng) and an uncertain superstar (Chris Bosh), Miami may not be the ideal place for Wade at this time… Could that lead him to Cleveland?
2. LeBron: This one isn’t surprising. We’ve known for a while that James was planning to opt out of his contract to pursue a bigger payday with the NBA’s salary cap on the rise. It’s been expected, especially since he said it himself, that LeBron is going to return to Cleveland to defend the Cavaliers’ recent title. He talked about getting his “one for the Land” and did such… so could he really have been swayed on that banana boat to consider other options? He’ll likely be returning to Cleveland, but at this rate, especially with the Wade rumors, who knows…
With the Wade news out of Miami and LeBron’s recent opt-out, how likely is a team-up in Cleveland? Hypothetically, the Cavaliers could sign Wade & James and potentially trade Kevin Love – who has been the subject of trade rumors since his arrival in Cleveland – to the Clippers for Chris Paul. What does that make of Kyrie Irving? Well, the Cavaliers could shop him to the highest bidder and get a boatload in return.
Perhaps there’s even a chance this could happen in Los Angeles? James has a home in the City of Angels and spends his time there in the offseason, plus he recently just enrolled his kids at a school in the area… Could he make a move to the west coast with Wade?
Whenever LeBron James is on the open market, it’s always going to be an interesting offseason. Now, with it looking like James, Wade, AND, oh yeah, KEVIN DURANT headlining this free agency class, things could get really fun. Get ready for tons of over-analyzing and cryptic messaging (just like this article) on your favorite sports networks – and as always, please watch out for those fake tweets.
There’s no indication that last night’s late tweets mean anything – Wade will likely re-sign in Miami and James in Cleveland, but the idea is fun to talk about – especially now that LeBron has won his title with the Cavaliers. If something incredible does happen, the Banana Boat Meeting will be a legendary part of sports lore.
One thing’s for sure: this NBA offseason is going to be… bananas.