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Dwyane Wade cancels Bucks meeting

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And now back to reality.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade's brief flirtation with the Milwaukee Bucks appears to be over. Via NBA.com's David Aldridge:

The Bucks had scheduled a Wednesday meeting with Wade in New York, though that seemed increasingly irrelevant after the Heat reportedly anted up an improved two-year, $40 million offer on Monday. The second year would reportedly be a player option, enabling Wade to opt out and seek more money when the cap rises again next summer. That figure could grow to $53 million is the Heat can dump Josh McRoberts' salary, which Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel suggests is likely.

Keep in mind that the Bucks would have had to find a taker for Greg Monroe's expiring $17 million deal in order to offer more than $11 million to the 34-year-old Wade, who likely would have demanded much more than $20 million and a guaranteed third year as well. That extra year would have likely been a major sticking point for the Bucks; with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker due for significant raises over the next two summers, a third year of Wade would have likely meant a trip into the luxury tax in 2018/19 when Wade will turn 37. Not exactly an ideal way to blow your budget, though pressuring Pat Riley to spend more money on Wade should provide some consolation for Bucks fans -- especially those of us who remember Riley bidding up the Bucks' deals for Mo Williams and Charlie Bell in 2007.

Now that Wade's officially out of the picture, the Bucks can turn their attention to filling out their roster in more conventional ways, including their still-up-in-the-air center position and perhaps adding another guard. While the Wade news does little to lessen Monroe's availability via trade, it does mean the Bucks can focus on getting actual players back instead of just dumping Monroe for cap space. Bottom line: with 10 players under contract in addition to rookies Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks have three roster spots to play with between now and camp. The Monroe situation complicates things somewhat -- it's not clear what kind of asset(s) he might bring back at this point -- but the most likely outcome is probably adding one more guard/wing, re-signing Miles Plumlee, and then bringing back Steve Novak as end-of-the-bench shooter/locker room guy.

Monroe's murky future also leaves plenty of uncertainty around Plumlee, who as a restricted free agent continues to count for $5.3 million against the Bucks' cap while he waits for a deal. The Bucks would presumably prefer to defer their Plumlee decision until after they've figured out what to do with Monroe, and on that front Plumlee's restricted status could buy them some time. Still, the Bucks' hand would be forced if Plumlee snatches a multi-year offer sheet from another team looking to add depth in the middle; if that doesn't happen, it's also possible that Plumlee might eventually settle for his $3 million qualifying offer in order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Plumlee would certainly prefer to cash in with a bigger deal, but so far he's had to wait patiently while teams focus on bigger name free agents.  Depending on how much they want to keep Plumlee long-term, a QO might be a very good outcome for the Bucks, who would save money this season while maintaining more flexibility heading into next summer.

On paper, the Bucks also remain down a guard compared to last year (Greivis Vasquez, O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless are out, Matthew Dellavedova and Malcolm Brogdon in), so you'd imagine they'd like to add one more combo guard or swingman capable of knocking down open threes. That player could come via a Monroe trade or a direct signing; the Bucks have between $4 and $6 million in cap room left including Plumlee's cap hold, and could open up as much as around $11 million if they rescinded their Plumlee qualifying offer and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent. Beyond that, they also have the ability to sign a player for up to $2.9 million using their cap room mid-level exception.