Even after moving into retirement, Dwyane Wade is still receiving accolades.
The recently retired Heat guard was named the winner of the 2018-19 Magic Johnson Award on Monday, which is given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award honors the player who best combined excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.
The finalists for the award were Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Warriors forward Draymond Green, Magic center Nikola Vucevic and Wade.
The press release from the PBWA announcing the news read: “Off the court, Wade — along with coach Erik Spoelstra and the Heat’s media relations staff — helped build an atmosphere of mutual respect and openness with the working media.”
Wade, 37, averaged 15 points on 43.3 percent shooting in a sixth-man role with the Heat this past season, his 16th and final NBA season. He has split his time mostly between Miami and Los Angeles since his playing career came to an end in April.
Wade continues to serve as a supportive voice and presence for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High community that was struck by tragedy after a mass shooting killed 17 people at the school on Feb. 14, 2018. He was featured as a surprise guest at the Stoneman Douglas Class of 2019 graduation ceremony on June 2 and addressed the students.
Members of the PBWA selected Wade as the winner through a vote. The PBWA is composed of more than 200 writers and editors who cover the NBA regularly for newspapers, magazines and online news outlets.
The Magic Johnson Award was created by the PBWA in 2001. Shane Battier (2012-13) is the only other player to win the award as a member of the Heat. Battier also won it as a a member of the Rockets in 2006-07.
Past winners include Ray Allen (2000-01), Chris Bosh (2009-10) and Kevin Durant (2010-11). DeMar DeRozan won the award last season as a member of the Raptors.
As the Heat awaits Goran Dragic’s decision on the player option in his contract for next season worth $19.2 million, it’s important to note there’s very little incentive for him to make a formal decision before the June 20 NBA Draft.
Not only does Dragic have until June 29 to inform the Heat of his decision, but he could also prevent a draft-day trade or one that includes another team’s 2019 draft pick by delaying his decision past June 20. Players with options in their contracts for the upcoming season can’t be traded until they opt-in.
An associate of Dragic said the 33-year-old point guard will take the next few weeks to think about his NBA future, with a decision on his player option expected later in June. Dragic has made it clear that he enjoys living in Miami and being a part of the Heat organization.
Center Hassan Whiteside also has until June 29 to decide on his player option, which is worth $27.1 million. Dragic and Whiteside are expected to opt-in to return to the Heat for the final season of their deals, but formal decisions have not been made yet.
▪ Southern California guard Kevin Porter Jr. told reporters in Charlotte during the weekend that his Heat workout in Miami will be Thursday.
Porter’s scoring ability, athleticism and high ceiling intrigues NBA teams. But the Heat needs a comfort level with a player whose limited body of work includes a brief suspension and only 21 college games.
While some project Porter as a lottery pick, ESPN’s latest mock draft has him dropping to the Celtics at No. 22. The Heat has the 13th pick in this year’s draft.
“Porter will start getting looks as high as the late lottery,” ESPN wrote, “but the question marks about his approach to the game appear to have taken a toll on his draft stock.”
Kentucky guard Tyler Herro told reporters in Orlando on Monday that he will work out for the Heat in Miami, among other teams, before the draft.