Dwyane Wade reveals why Chris Paul blockbuster fell through: ‘I am not giving up my number’

Paul Wade
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat had a chance to acquire one of the most accomplished point guards in NBA History during their infamous “Big 3” era that featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

After the 2010-11 season, it was revealed earlier this week on Wade’s “The Why” podcast that a hypothetical blockbuster trade between the then-New Orleans Hornets and Miami Heat for Paul fell through.

The reason why it didn’t occur wasn’t due to on-court fit, but Wade sacrificing his number, they revealed:

“We talk about all this — who gonna have the ball, we can all play together, CP, I can play off the ball,” Wade said. “We figured all that out. Then somebody said, ‘Well, who gonna wear No. 3?’ … Silence.

“That’s the whole reason [the trade fell through] because [Paul] couldn’t wear number three in Miami. Messed the whole trade up.”

Paul, who was entering his age-26 season, averaged 15.9 points, 9.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and an NBA-most 2.4 steals in 2010-11, shooting 46.3 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from the 3-point line and 87.8 percent from the free-throw line. He starred on a 46-36 Hornets team that got eliminated in the first round of the 2011 playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Paul played on his four All-Star team that season, as well as being named to second-team All-Defense and third-team All-NBA. He finished in the top-15 in MVP voting and Defensive Player of the Year voting too, awards that went to Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Orlando’s Dwight Howard, respectively.

“You were older; you could have just worn 33,” Paul jokingly said. “You were older than me.”

“Listen, I sacrificed not getting touches,” Wade said. “I sacrificed not getting articles read and not getting the most money, but I am not giving up my number!”

The Heat would’ve likely had to give up Chris Bosh, who was making $16.0 million entering 2011-12–equivalent to roughly $37.5 million today in terms of the percentage of the salary cap–to acquire Paul.

In the 2005 CBA, teams over the cap were not allowed to take back more than 125 percent of the outgoing salary in a given trade; when the 2011 CBA was enacted, the rule was in place for taxpaying teams, while the rules were slightly more complicated for non-taxpaying teams.

Thus, the Heat could been able to fit Paul’s $13.2 million into its cap sheet, but it would have likely come at the expense of Bosh.

Miami went on to win two NBA Titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13 over the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. Meanwhile, Paul got traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after a trade to the cross-town Lakers was vetoed by NBA commissioner David Stern, who was also the Hornets’ de facto owner at the time.

Paul never advanced to the Conference Finals in six seasons with the Clippers, famously dubbed “Lob City” with Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. He’s played for the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns–making the NBA Finals in 2020-21–and the Warriors since.

This is also one of the more fun “what-ifs” in recent Miami Heat history as well. Ah, what could’ve been!

How do you think it would’ve played out if Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade were on the same team? Let us know in the comments!


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I have never bought in to all of the Chris Paul hype.
He is not a difference maker in my eyes for a team.
This is just my opinion. Others, feel free to disagree.

heat for life

he was really good early in his career.father time got him should have retired few years ago.tarnishing his image now.borderline hof player


I think they would have been too small for the competition and got wiped.

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