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Wade meets with Bulls on Day 1 as free agent

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CHICAGO — Dwyane Wade grew up in Chicago and still makes his offseason home there.

The Bulls would like to see that arrangement become more permanent.

Wade and his representatives spent about two hours with the Bulls on Thursday, hearing their recruiting sales pitch as the most awaited free-agent period in NBA history — maybe sports history — got under way in earnest. Wade talked with the Bulls at the United Center, where as a kid, Wade idolized Michael Jordan and fantasized about following him to the NBA.

Details of the meeting were not immediately known.

Wade’s time with Chicago coincided with the New Jersey Nets’ meeting with the megastar of this class, LeBron James, in Cleveland on Thursday morning. Both meetings ended at roughly the same time, and the Nets’ contingent quickly left Cleveland to fly to Chicago for an afternoon meeting with Wade.

Pat Riley, Wade’s boss in Miami for the past seven seasons, got the first word in on free agency, contacting the 2006 NBA finals MVP at the largely ceremonial time of 12:01 a.m. EDT on Thursday. Wade has said repeatedly that he would like to stay in Miami, but structured his last contract for this opportunity of becoming a free agent for the first time.

The Heat are still “very confident” that Wade will stay in Miami, said Alonzo Mourning, Wade’s former teammate, his close friend and now an executive in the Miami organization.

Wade’s talk with the Bulls almost certainly included comparisons to that Jordan era and Wade’s continued ties to the city. He recently purchased a new home in Chicago, and his sons, ages 8 and 3, have been raised almost entirely there.

Wade also is expected to speak with other clubs, including the New York Knicks, before returning to South Florida. He and Mourning will appear Tuesday north of downtown Miami at a press conference for their annual Summer Groove, a fundraising weekend for youth programs and other charitable causes.


AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.

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