Team personnel have believed for several months that the 35-year-old would pick up the option because it was highly unlikely he would be offered that much money on the open market.
Asked by TNT about his decision, Wade said: "24 million reasons."
Now that Wade has made his decision, the Bulls must focus on whether they will trade Jimmy Butler before Thursday night's NBA draft. League sources said the Bulls' front office continues to listen to offers for the All-Star swingman, and there is more momentum for a full-scale rebuild within the organization than there has been in years past.
However, sources told ESPN's Marc Stein on Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are among the teams pursuing Butler, have been notified that Butler hopes to stay with the Bulls and that he would be reluctant to commit his long-term future to Cleveland. Butler, sources said, remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence.
Butler could become a free agent in July 2019. He and Wade developed a quick friendship last season, and Butler credited Wade many times with helping him improve his game.
Wade signed with the Bulls last summer amid much hype after 13 seasons with the Miami Heat. In 60 regular-season games last season, he averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Wade spoke openly about how happy he was to be playing for the team he grew up cheering for as a kid in the Chicagoland area.
After helping the Bulls get off to a solid start in the first month of the season, Wade saw his numbers drop considerably in the second half of the campaign.
The most memorable sequence of Wade's first year in Chicago came after a Jan. 25 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks in which the Bulls blew a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter. After the game, Wade, along with Butler, ripped his younger teammates and questioned their effort.
"I don't know what happened," Wade said. "But we continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this. Everyone don't care enough. You got to care enough, man. It's got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn't. So I don't know what happened.
"I don't know how you fix it. It just doesn't mean enough to guys around here to want to win ballgames. It pisses me off, but I can't be frustrated and I can't care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves. You got to do better. You got to do better with knowing where your shot's coming and knock them down. You got to do better with knowing film, knowing personnel. Just as a team, just got to do better, man."
The following day, in an Instagram post, Chicago's veteran point guard Rajon Rondo ripped Wade and Butler for their public comments. The respect level that so many within the organization had for Wade to start the season was never the same after that event.
CSNChicago.com first reported Wade's intention to pick up his option.