Dwyane Wade still hasn’t decided if he’s going to come back for a 16th season yet, but if he does he reiterated Sunday morning he can only envision himself doing it as a member of the Miami Heat.
Wade, 36, shared his thoughts on his future, LeBron James’ next landing spot, if the Warriors success is bad for basketball (he doesn’t) and much more Sunday when he was interviewed for 10 minutes by former Heat teammate Caron Butler for Fox Sports Radio.
“For me, at this point, I would love to, you know, if I decide to come back and play the game of basketball, I would love for it obviously to be in Miami,” Wade said on the ‘Chris and Caron’ show with Butler and Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix.
“It’s crazy because in this league you never know what happens. I never even thought I would leave Miami. Caron knows that. I thought I would be here forever. But things happen. So, at this point for me, sitting here, contemplating on playing the game of basketball, my only vision as I sit here today is playing in a Miami Heat uniform.”
Butler, who retired from basketball in February at 38, said he knew it was time for him to step away from the game when he “started running out of talent.” Wade said he could ‘definitely’ relate to what Butler was talking about.
“One point I knew things we changing, when I used to go baseline all I needed was one dribble to get past [the defender] and I’m taking off [toward the rim],” said Wade, who has spent a lot of time this summer tracking the basketball career of his eldest son, Zaire, a 16-year-old budding star and 6-foot, 2-inch point guard. “Then it turned into like two dribbles. Then it went to like three. Everything started changing. So, I’ve definitely noticed the change over the years.”
Wade, though, was still arguably the Heat’s best player in its quick five-game, first round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 16.6 points on 44.3 percent shooting and led Miami to its only win in the series with 28 points in only 26 minutes in Game 2 in Philadelphia.
That kind of explosive performance (he also had 25 points in a Game 4 loss in Miami) is something Wade believed he would have been able to deliver for the Cavaliers after signing with them back in late September. But the Cavs front office blew up the team’s roster at the NBA trade deadline, shipping Wade back home to Miami after the team struggled with internal issues.
James, who won two titles in four years with the Heat and just one in Cleveland in five trips to the Finals (including a four game sweep at the hands of the Warriors on Friday), said recently he thought Wade would have helped the Cavaliers in the Finals.
“I didn’t sign in Cleveland for 82 games in the regular season. I signed with them so I could be there in the playoffs to be there for the winning or the success and trying to take down one of the greatest teams of all time,” Wade said Sunday.
“I wanted to be a part of that. I thought the team we had, we went through rough stretches, but for the players we had, I thought we had guys that would have been big in the playoff moments. But things happened the way they happened for everyone. Jae Crowder got the best out of it with Utah. Isaiah [Thomas] went to L.A. and had fun, got his confidence back. I came to Miami. So everything great happened for the guys that left. But the reason I was there? I was there for that moment. So, I definitely thought I could have made a difference. But hey.”
Wade said seeing the Cavaliers and James struggle without him wasn’t hard on him at all.
“I mean they traded me. I got traded. It didn’t make it hard at all,” said Wade, who was reacquired by the Heat for a heavily protected future second round pick. “I mean [LeBron is] my guy. He’s one of my best friends in this game of basketball. I knew he was up against a tough task no matter who was on his team. You’re playing against some amazing talent over there in Golden State and those guys it seems like from afar they get it.
“People want them to get tired of each other and hopefully break it up. It seems like they get it and they’re OK with getting less shots and they’re OK with taking less money here and there because they love winning. [LeBron] was up against a tough task and his team. [People] gave them a lot of slack, but there were a couple games where his teammates did their job. They did what they were supposed to do – especially Game 1. Everybody played their role. It just so happened they didn’t win that game for more than one reason. Kevin Love had a great playoffs. They just played against a team that no one can beat right now.”
The Heat is reportedly one of seven teams James will discuss his future with this offseason. In the unlikely event James, 33, chose to return to the Heat, Miami and James would need to convince Cleveland to execute a sign-and-trade, or James would need to opt in the final year of his contract (for $35 million) and persuade Cleveland to trade him.
What does Wade believe his close friend will do?
“For me I don’t think it’s a basketball thing,” Wade said. “Obviously this year he’s shown he can get to the Finals no matter what the circumstances are. So I don’t really think for him the basketball decision is ‘Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.’ I think at this point in his life it’s more so of a lifestyle thing. Where is my family going to be the most comfortable at? Where am I going to be the happiest at? Because basketball-wise he’s so great, he can take along whoever.”