Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Heat star Dwyane signs three-year contract extension

AFP , MIAMI, FLORIDA

NBAHaving carried the Miami Heat to their first National Basketball Association championship, high-flying guard Dwyane Wade has kept his options open by signing a three-year extension.

In so doing, Wade is apparently following LeBron James's lead.

Unlike a Florida newspaper report last week that had the 24-year-old agreeing on a maximum five-year contract that was to be worth around US$80 million, Wade is believed to have signed a three-year deal with a player option similar to the one agreed upon by the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar.

James, who was also rumored to ink a five-year extension before the free-agent moratorium was lifted earlier on Wednesday, agreed to a three-year contract extension with a player option worth about US$60 million on Wednesday.

By opting to take the shorter deal, Wade, who has been adamant about staying in Miami, could become a free agent following the 2009-2010 season, allowing him the ability to sign a more lucrative deal.

James is committed to winning an NBA championship with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. But the all-star forward was not willing to take it to the maximum.

Instead, James agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2009-2010 season with a player option for a fourth year with Cleveland.

"We did extensive research and with the way the CBA is set up, it makes the most business sense to sign this extension and then look at another contract in four years," James said.

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