A night after Dwyane Wade dazzled his hometown of Chicago and his former Heat teammates with his three-point touch in his Bulls’ debut, his old locker at AmericanAirlines Arena was finally empty again.
Until he was waived at the end of the preseason, veteran guard Beno Udrih occupied Wade’s old corner locker.
Was there a reason the future Hall of Famer’s old locker was left empty?
Apparently not. A Heat spokesman said the only reason Wade’s locker remained unoccupied Friday was because it was Udrih who was cut and not for any other reason.
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“Give him a banner or something, I don’t care,” Justise Winslow said. “But a locker? That’s whatever.”
Wade, who scored 22 points Thursday and made four three-pointers in a win over the Celtics, told The Vertical after the game: “I closed the Miami chapter right there.”
On Friday, former Heat teammates expressed happiness for him but also some measure of surprise, considering Wade hit seven three-pointers in 44 attempts during the 2015-16 regular season.
“It was crazy. I didn’t recognize the guy,” said Tyler Johnson, while noting he was excited for Wade’s success, which included a key three with 26 seconds left in the win (Wade was fined $25,000 by the NBA Friday for making a throat-slashing gesture after the shot).
“Shoot, he looks like Dwyane Korver right now,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, referencing Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver. “Dwyane can shoot. Don’t let that fool you. He would put up those kind of numbers in the playoffs when it really mattered, when defenses tightened up.”
Wade, who hit 12 of 23 three-pointers during the playoffs last season, said at the end of last season he was going to spend all summer working on his three-point shot.
Heat forward Udonis Haslem said Wade told him he had been “working on that, shooting it a lot after practice. I’m happy he’s been able to add that, extend his career longer.”
Was it strange watching Wade on Thursday?
“Not strange watching Dwyane Wade hit a clutch shot down the stretch,” Haslem said. “I think I’ve seen that a couple times. Just the jersey different. He didn’t make a shot against the Heat, so I’m happy for him.”
Wade, who spent his first 13 seasons with the Heat, told The Vertical: “I can’t focus over there anymore. I want those guys in Miami to be successful, but I’m motivated by greatness here. I’m motivated by doing what people think I can’t do, for sure. I had to make a decision, and I feel good about the decision I made.
“A lot of emotions hit me when I made that shot. I’m not here because I’m angry at [Heat president Pat Riley] or the Heat. There’s no anger. I’m happy because I got the freedom to look elsewhere. I got to look [to come] home.”
Riley said in July that he hadn’t spoken to Wade since he left but was constructing an email.
“I just have to hit send,” Riley said last month. “That’s all. I will. I love Dwyane.”
Wade said Thursday he has not received the email.
“I think something is wrong with my email,” Wade said. “It ain’t come through yet.”
Winslow posted a photo late Thursday night of himself and Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant with fists raised and the caption “WE MATTER.”
Winslow, who said the photo was taken last week when the teams met in their respective preseason finales, said he and Grant had conversations over the summer “about the whole thing, just the whole idea, the black community and how we can make it better — just conscious talk. We had that over the summer. That’s all that picture was about.”
Winslow said he decided to post the photo on his Twitter and Instagram accounts after the 76ers stopped recording artist Sevyn Streeter from singing the national anthem in their season opener Wednesday for wearing a jersey bearing the phrase “We Matter.”
The 76ers apologized for the decision Friday.
“I just felt like she had a message she was trying to get across, and they didn’t want her to get it across,” Winslow said. “So, I was just helping her out.”