Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Sept. 8) -- Dwyane Wade prepared to start season with Chicago Bulls

This morning’s headlines:

* * *

Wade prepared to start season with Bulls — Is a buyout looming? Will he pair back up with LeBron James again? Will he return to Miami? Will he go somewhere else? All of these queries and more have circulated around Dwyane Wade this summer amid talk of him seeking a buyout from the Chicago Bulls at some point. Yesterday, at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Wade talked with K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune and revealed some of what his plans are for 2017-18:

As for where Wade’s 15th season begins, the 12-time All-Star guard told the Tribune in advance of receiving the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award he plans to report to Bullstraining camp that begins Sept. 25.

“The only thing I’ll say is right now my plan is to be in training camp,” Wade said.

Wade wouldn’t address his future beyond that or the organizational decision to rebuild after the draft-day trade of his close friend Jimmy Butler. He also chose not to answer whether he would be comfortable in a mentoring role.

No buyout talks have transpired since the Butler trade, which came two days after Wade exercised his $23.8 million player option. Wade had another week before the deadline on that decision.

The Bulls have said any buyout would have to be “advantageous for the organization.”

Nevertheless, speculation has run rampant that Wade will be elsewhere at some point next season.

“It’s the world we live in,” Wade said. “Everyone’s going to speculate.”

Later, Wade told Turner Sports David Aldridge: “When the time is right for me and the Chicago Bulls organization to sit down and talk about the future, we will do that. … Hopefully, we get an opportunity to sit down and talk about the direction and go from there. I’m 35 years old. I’m a grown man. I can definitely sit across the room from you and listen to your truth and hopefully (you) hear mine.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said it’s too early to know Wade’s role this season. With Zach LaVine returning from an ACL tear, Wade projects to start should he make it to opening night in a Bulls uniform. Beyond that, Wade as sixth man could come into play given the rebuilding situation — another reason why speculation on an eventual buyout reigns.

“I’m excited about Dwyane being a great influence on our younger players,” Hoiberg said. “He has been through every possible situation in the NBA. He has won several championships, but he also has been part of rebuilding situations. So to be a resource for our younger players as they establish themselves in this league is important. And he still has some good minutes in him.”

* * *

Report: Prokhorov plans to sell Nets — In April of this year, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he was selling a 49-percent stake of the team. Prokhorov has flirted with the idea of selling his controlling interest in the team he acquired in 2010 and now, according to the New York Post, he is looking to do that as well. Here’s more from Josh Kosman of the Post:

The Russian billionaire, unable to sell a minority stake in the money-losing NBA franchise, now plans to off-load a controlling stake in the team, two sources close to the situation told The Post.

However, Prokhorov is hoping to sell the Nets in a two-part process, the sources said. First, the 52-year-old will look to sell a minority piece of the team — but give the buyer the right to buy the entire team in a short period of time — say three years, the sources said.

“There will be a new owner in the next few years,” one of the sources said.

Prokhorov, after the NBA’s Houston Rockets sold earlier this month for a record price of $2.2 billion, is seeking roughly $2 billion for the Nets, sources said.

In July, The Post reported exclusively that Prokhorov, growing frustrated at the glacial pace of the effort to sell up to 49 percent of the team, was warming up to the idea of letting go of the team entirely.

Since then, the eventual sale of 100 percent of the team has become the primary goal.

“The path to control is what is sparking this [revamped] auction,” a source said.

Prokhorov is not selling the separately owned Barclays Center, where the Nets play, sources said. The Nets, who had the NBA’s worst record last season, recently reworked their lease with Barclays in a way that will leave the Nets paying less rent, a source said.

Suitors are waiting for the details of the new lease agreement to be hammered out before submitting formal offers, a source said. Key to determining a franchise value is how much revenue the team will receive from suite rentals and sponsorships.

Potential buyers are also waiting on details on the path to control, the source said.

There are interested buyers, including Wall Street types, who have been doing due diligence on the team, sources said.

Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai has expressed an interest in the team, a source told The Post, though reps for his family office, Blue Pool Capital, deny it.

* * *

Jeff Van Gundy already picking Warriors to win 2018 title — The Cleveland Cavaliers just pulled off a swap of superstar point guards. Out West, several squads — from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings — went through offseason overhauls. Yet to NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy, the fact the Golden State Warriors are still in tact and healthy does little to excite him about other teams’ moves. In an interview with SiriusXM Radio, Van Gundy said this season is already “over”:

During an appearance on Sirius XM, Van Gundy said the Golden State Warriors are going to repeat as NBA champions and he doesn’t think anyone is close.

“The Warriors are going to win forever if everything stays the same,” Van Gundy said, adding, “this season is over.”

Van Gundy said even if the Cleveland Cavaliers use the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick they acquired from the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving to trade for another superstar, like Paul George, they still would not be better than the Warriors.

“We’re going to play it out, and the Warriors are going to win,” Van Gundy said. “And then next year is going to be the same thing.”

“2018 is a wrap,” Van Gundy said. “Let’s start talking about 2019.”

It’s not the first time Van Gundy has written off a top team’s competition. Shortly after LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, he predicted the Heat would demolish the 1995-96 Bulls’ 72-win record — something the 2015-16 Warriors would actually do. The Heat ended up losing in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in James’ first season with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and company.

* * *

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Ten games that bolstered Tracy McGrady’s Hall of Fame candidacy … According to this report, there could be some reform to the NBA Draft lottery on the way … Damian Lillard is apparently a vegan now … Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn has been working as a photographer at the U.S. Open … Aaron Gordon might get back into the dunk contest … J.R. Smith gave new addition Jae Crowder some pointers on where to buy a house in Cleveland … Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban are stepping up to help Hurricane Harvey victims