Heat president Pat Riley said Friday he will try to do everything he can to re-sign Dwyane Wade and wants to keep together the nucleus of the team that finished last season, but that Wade hasn’t told him if he intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
“We want Dwyane back; there is no doubt about that,” Riley said in his first public comments since The Miami Herald first reported that Wade and the Heat were far apart in their vision for what Wade should earn over the next three years.
“He's been here 12 years. When a player has an opportunity to be a free agent, you give him the space and the time to think about that. We love Dwyane. Dwyane is a pillar. He has been part of the root structure and foundation of this franchise for 12 years. On July 1, we'll be the first ones he'll get to talk to and we'll go from there.”
Asked if he’s concerned that Wade might not return to the Heat, Riley said: “I'm not a pessimist when it comes to that. We have a lot to offer here with all of our free agents, not just Dwyane but Goran [Dragic] and Luol [Deng]. Really, I don't think we're a 10th pick in the draft team with the kind of roster we can put together if healthy and contend in the East. I think they're aware of that. Players want to win.
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“Whatever I think today is really irrelevant. I want all of them to come back. I would like to be able to make a deal with all of these players and keep the team we built last year together and we'll find that out July 1. And we'll have eight or nine days to deal with that. Before that, it's really speculation. Everybody should just chill a little bit until July 1.”
Asked if Wade feels disrespected by the Heat, Riley said: “That hasn't been expressed to us, and if it is, it would be a personal conversation with Dwyane and with [owner] Micky [Arison] or Nick [Arison] and myself if there are any of those kinds of issues.
“Everybody in this organization over the years has sacrificed and I would have to say the one player from that standpoint that has sacrificed a lot for the sake of winning has been him. We're aware of that. But I haven't heard anything [about] disrespect. We respect him. We want him back, want him here for the rest of his career. That's obvious. We will try to do everything we can do to make that happen.”
Riley addressed other issues:
▪ He said Luol Deng hasn’t informed the team if he will exercise an opt-out before Monday night’s deadline.
▪ He expressed optimism about re-signing Goran Dragic.
“I feel confident this is where he wants to be,” Riley said. “He knew how much we gave up for him. He wants to here. He let me know that in the exit meeting.”
▪ Riley disputed ESPN and CBS reports that the Heat is trying to trade veterans to slash payroll to ease the tax burden they would incur re-signing Wade and Dragic.
▪ He said the Heat didn’t expect Justise Winslow to fall to the 10th pick and that he was the highest-rated small forward on the Heat’s board.
“It reminds me of what happened with Caron Butler [who fell to 10th in 2002] ,” Riley said “It's a great day for us and a great day for our fans.
“Justise is an incredible, very mature, young at 19, player that anybody that has watched him play can see that he's not only athletic, but he's a playmaker, a multiple position player. Justise can guard four positions. Justice is similar to Draymond Green….
“If all these guys come back, he just adds to the depth we're going to have. "You are going to see an extremely versatile team next year with the players we have.”
▪ Riley said the Heat had a first-round grade on Tennessee shooting guard Josh Richardson, who Miami selected in the second round and 40th overall.
WINSLOW, RICHARDSON REACT
Winslow, in interviews at the Heat's draft party and with local media,
said he had no personal contact at all with the Heat during the draft
"This is an organization that wants to win right now; that's what I'm
accustomed to doing," he said. "That's an environment I will really be
able to thrive in.
"I'm a guy that really prides myself on my defense [and] offensively,
I'm a guy that can do it all," said Winslow, who averaged 12.6 points,
6.5 rebounds and shot 48.6 percent from the field and 41.8 percent on
three-pointers in his one season at Duke.
Richardson --- who averaged 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and shot 46.1
percent overall and 35.9 percent on threes at Tennessee last season
--- said via conference call on Friday that he's "incredibly excited"
the Heat drafted him.
"I know the way the Heat likes to play defense; I kind of fit that
mold," he said. "To be able to learn from somebody like Dwyane Wade is
huge. I should be able to play great defense and knock down some open
shots. I'm a way better shooter than I was in college."