Miami Heat

Heat’s trip to LA will be special for Dwyane Wade. So special, he’s willing to sacrifice sleep

Dwyane Wade is back. Here’s what he had to say about his return from paternity leave

Dwyane Wade will return from a seven-game absence Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets. The Miami Heat guard was on paternity leave after the birth of his first daughter.
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Dwyane Wade will return from a seven-game absence Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets. The Miami Heat guard was on paternity leave after the birth of his first daughter.

Dwyane Wade doesn’t expect to sleep much during the Heat’s four-day stay in Los Angeles.

Not because of Los Angeles’ well-known nightlife or the excitement surrounding his final matchup against close friend and former teammate LeBron James on Monday, but because of his one-month old daughter.

After the Heat’s flight from Phoenix on Friday night following the Heat’s win over the Suns, Wade was reunited with his wife Gabrielle Union and daughter Kaavia James Union Wade in Los Angeles, where the family has their second home.

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“I can’t wait. Obviously I’m excited,” said Wade, with the Heat opening a two-game set in Los Angeles on Saturday against the Clippers. “I haven’t seen [Kaavia] in a while. I haven’t touched her in a while. So I want to get back to her.”

It’s been almost three weeks since Wade last saw Kaavia. He returned to the Heat for its Nov. 20 contest against the Nets after missing seven games while on paternity leave to be with his daughter delivered through surrogate in California.

During his time away from his Kaavia, Wade’s made sure she has heard his voice through FaceTime and videos.

“My wife is doing a good job of letting her hear my voice, letting her see me as much as she can,” Wade said. “Even though right now, she’s probably still seeing black and white only. But I want her to see this male. There aren’t too many males who are in there. It’s a lot of women around her, so from a male perspective I want her to understand it’s her dad.”

But there’s another male about to enter Kaavia’s life. Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who was chosen as her godfather, will meet Wade’s daughter for the first time this weekend.

“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I feel like I know her already because I follow her on Instagram. She’s almost got as many followers as me,” Haslem said, referring to the Instagram account Wade and Union started for Kaavia that has over 300,000 followers. “But I feel like I know her already. I’m excited to just have the opportunity to bond with her, sit down and just soak up some of that bundle of joy that everybody has been talking about.”

What will Haslem be like as a godfather?

“You know me, what you see is what you get,” he said with a grin. “She can depend on me to chaperone that first date and all that kind of stuff.”

After this short stay in Los Angeles, Wade will leave his daughter again for a few weeks. But he hopes to welcome her to Miami for the first time around Christmas, with newborns usually not permitted to travel in an airplane right away.

“We’re shooting for Christmas,” Wade said. “We’re shooting for the holidays to be her first time coming to Miami. We’re crossing our fingers that she can get all her shots and the doctor allows her to travel.”

For now, Wade is going to savor every moment with Kaavia during the Heat’s time in Los Angeles. Even if it means less sleep.

“I’m probably not going to sleep much,” Wade said with a laugh. “I’m OK. My daughter, even when I was in LA, maybe the first couple nights it was a little rough. But she was pretty good after a while with sleeping and things like that. But I’m OK with it because I’ve been missing her. I’m willing to enjoy this whole process and get tired in LA. I can sleep in Utah.”

Heat point guard Goran Dragic, who returned from a right knee injury in Friday’s win over the Suns, will not play Saturday against the Clippers on the second night of the back-to-back set. This was part of Miami’s plan even before Friday night, with Dragic coming off an injury.

Dragic contributed 11 points and 10 assists in 21 minutes in his return to record his first double-double of the season Friday. He said his knee wasn’t an issue in his first game back, but his conditioning is still a work in progress.

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