Dean Wade is underpaid
The last player on our list is likely the most surprising, especially after he was on the fringes of the rotation last season. Yet it’s probably not all that bold to say that Dean Wade is underpaid, especially if he enters the season fully recovered from the shoulder injury that hindered his shot last year.
Wade makes just $5.7 million next season, the 10th-most on the team and just 4.2 percent of the salary cap. While he hasn’t fully built his reputation in the league, at his core Wade is the perfect 3-and-D forward, able to defend 3s and 4s and knock down 3-point shots at a solid clip; that kind of player tends to make much more than $5.7 million per season.
Max Strus just signed a contract with the Cavs averaging $15.75 million per season; he’s a career 37.1 percent 3-point shooter, just better than Wade’s 36.2 career percentage. Wade is a significantly better defender, has more size and is a better rebounder. Strus provides a movement shooting element that Wade does not, but the pay discrepancy highlights how Wade is likely to be worth more than he is making.
Wade isn’t going to turn into Dirk Nowitzki, but his combination of size, defense and shooting makes him a valuable player and probably a lock to be in the rotation next season, especially if his shot comes all the way back after an offseason of rest for his shoulder. He’ll join Evan Mobley and Donovan Mitchell as the most underpaid players on the roster.