If Dwyane Wade had his way, the NBA’s schedule makers would have granted him a little more time in Miami, but he’s looking forward to his only visit of the season Thursday night. He’s not so sure about seeing Heat president Pat Riley though.
After Wade’s new team, the Bulls, arrives in South Florida after Wednesday night’s game against the Hawks, the most productive player in Heat history will, “sleep in my bed for about three hours.”
Then, Chicago will take on the Heat before the Bulls head back to Wade’s original hometown.
In between, he might or might not visit with Riley, who reportedly didn’t up the team’s two-year, $40 million summer offer to Wade to stick around even after the Bulls’ two-year, $47 million offer.
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He knows he will chat up former teammates.
“I don’t know,” Wade said after Wednesday morning’s shoot-around in Atlanta ahead of the Hawks game. “I was there 13 years so I’ve seen a lot of video tributes [to former players], and … I’ve seen the way he’s responded to them, and if you’re not with him, you’re against him.”
Averaging 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, Wade has said he understands how money matters work in the NBA.
He gets that the team opted to pay younger, burgeoning center Hassan Whiteside big — four years, $98.4 million — to keep him.
Yet sometimes business hurts.
“I think you guys know I haven’t talked to him. It’s as simple as that,” Wade said of Riley. “I think I’ve been very open and honest about my respect and love for Pat, and honest that I haven’t spoken to him since the season ended.”
Wade watches the Heat play when he can and has contact with people in the organization, including Udonis Haslem and coach Erik Spoelstra.
He’s eager to see them and visit his Miami Beach home.
“I would love to have a day I can enjoy my house,” he said. “I’m going to take advantage of the moments I’m there, take advantage of my love for what is there, my family and friends, and go out and compete in an arena that I played in for 13 years in an environment that I’m used to.
“I … would have loved it a little better if the schedule makers looked at it and didn’t give us this back-to-back.”
Wade is still getting to know his new teammates, including fellow first-time Bulls Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez.
He will renew acquaintances in South Florida, too, during his brief layover.
“There’s a few things I’ll do, but I don’t want to tell you [reporters] because you’ll tell everybody else,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy my family and friends.”
Wade said he is not upset that he hasn’t spoken with Riley. It’s business.
“No. I’ve communicated with everyone else,” he said. “No, I know who Pat is. I’ve seen a lot of players come and go so I know how he is. If you’re not with him, you’re against him. That’s just the way it is. You’ve got to understand that, man. I’m cool with it. I’m fine, 100 percent.”