Months after tense, at times rancorous, contract talks culminated in a one-year, $20 million deal with the Heat, Dwyane Wade on Wednesday night reiterated his desire to finish his career in Miami and endorsed management’s offseason reworking of the roster.
“I thought Pat Riley and Micky Arison and Nick Arison did a great job of building this team,” Wade said before being inducted into the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Sports Hall of Champions at Marlins Park.
“We have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be, to get into the playoffs and hope to compete for a championship. … [But] I really like this team. We’ve got a lot of depth. … I love playing with veteran guys.
“When you can add youth like Justise [Winslow] and … [second-round pick] Josh [Richardson], when you add those guys into veteran guys, it could be special. We have all the ingredients. We just have to make sure we mix it right. It’s going to be a long journey of highs and lows. Hopefully … we end on a high.”
After four consecutive years of playing deep into June, Wade “enjoyed” a lengthy layoff this offseason, with Miami missing the playoffs for only the second time in his career.
“Not saying I want to be out of the playoffs,” he said.
“… There’s a reason for this. Hopefully, that reason shows its face this year.”
With training camp set to start Sept. 29, likely at FAU in Boca Raton, Wade appeared slim Wednesday but said he has added back some weight after losing “a lot” earlier in the summer. “I’m good … in basketball shape,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Wade told 790 The Ticket that he changed his workout approach this summer and worked with South Florida-based trainer Dave Alexander after spending the previous two summers with Chicago-based Tim Grover.
“I will be turning 34 this year,” Wade said. “A lot of people didn't think I would make it this long with the way I play. This summer was trying to challenge myself with my body.”
Wade’s summer included spending several days working out and bonding with many of his Heat teammates and coaches in Los Angeles.
“The L.A. thing was all Chris Bosh; Chris came to me,” he said.
“I thought Chris did an unbelievable job of stepping up and being a leader and getting all of us together to get to Joshua Tree and spending time with the coaches and working out at his house in L.A. It’s something we hadn’t done before.
“Last year was a tough year for everyone. … LeBron [James] leaving and everyone was all up in arms. … We had a lot of injuries, and the team never got a chance to really get to know each other. We didn’t do the things we had done in the past to … build that bond.”
Getting together in Los Angeles last month was an acknowledgement that “we’ve got to do it different this year. We’ve got to build this bond sooner if we want to compete the way I think we all do.”
Wade said being inducted into Miami’s Sports Hall of Champions left him “at a loss for words. … I’m overwhelmed and appreciative. I love the city. There’s a business side of everything. But my heart, and where I always said I wanted to be, was here. I started my career here, and I would like to finish it.”
▪ Wade said he wore a Jets jersey at Sunday’s New York-Cleveland game because he’s “very, very good friends with [Jets receiver] Brandon Marshall.”
He told The Ticket: “I don't know why people in Florida like to test my faith in my belief and my love for Miami because I wear a jersey to a game. I have done everything I can from a basketball standpoint, to help this town be successful and I will continue to do that. The heart is there, the love is there…. Don't question my loyalty, you all.”
▪ Also inducted into the Hall of Champions: tennis legend Chris Evert (who was unable to attend because of illness), golf legend Jack Nicklaus and former Major League Baseball player and general manager Woody Woodward.
▪ In a response to feedback from season-ticket holders, the Heat moved four Friday/Saturday home games from 7:30 to 8 p.m.: Nov. 21 (76ers), Dec. 5 (Cavaliers), Dec. 18 (Raptors) and March 25 (Magic).
▪ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra announced on The Ticket that he got engaged this summer.
Spoelstra’s fiancée is Nikki Sapp, a teacher and former Heat dancer who previously operated an art gallery in Los Angeles.
Barry Jackson: 305-376-3491, @flasportsbuzz