Barry Jackson

Wade closes “Miami chapter” but surprises former Heat teammate

In his first game with the team, Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) greets fans after an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Chicago. The Chicago Bulls won 105-99.
In his first game with the team, Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) greets fans after an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Chicago. The Chicago Bulls won 105-99. AP

A six-pack of Heat notes leading up to Friday night’s home opener against Charlotte:

• After scoring 22 points Thursday against Boston and hitting four of six three-point attempts in his victorious Chicago Bulls debut, former Heat guard Dwyane Wade told The Vertical: “I closed the Miami chapter right there.”

On Friday, former Heat teammates expressed happiness for him but also some measure of surprise, considering Wade hit seven three-pointers in 44 attempts during the 2015-16 regular season.

“It was crazy. I didn't recognize the guy,’ said Heat guard Tyler Johnson, while noting he was excited for Wade’s success, which included a key three with 26 seconds left. “He must have been working on his three point jumper all summer because I didn't see a whole lot of that until the playoffs last year.”

Wade hit 12 of 23 three-pointers during the playoffs last season.

“Shoot, he looks like Dwyane Korver right now,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, referencing Atlanta Hawks sharp-shooter Kyle Korver. “Dwyane can shoot. Don't let that fool you. He would put up those kind of numbers in the playoffs when it really mattered, when defenses tightened up.”

Heat forward Udonis Haslem said Wade told him he had been “working on that, shooting it a lot after practice. I'm happy he's been able to add that, extend his career longer.”

Was it strange watching Wade Thursday? “Not strange watching Dwyane Wade hit a clutch shot down the stretch,” Haslem said. “I think I've seen that a couple times. Just the jersey different. He didn’t make a shot against the Heat, so I’m happy for him.”

Wade, who spent his first 13 seasons with the Heat, told The Vertical: “I can’t focus over there anymore. I want those guys in Miami to be successful, but I’m motivated by greatness here. I’m motivated by doing what people think I can’t do, for sure. I had to make a decision, and I feel good about the decision I made.

“A lot of emotions hit me when I made that shot. I’m not here because I’m angry at [Heat president Pat Riley] or the Heat. There’s no anger. I’m happy because I got the freedom to look elsewhere. I got to look [to come] home.”

Riley said in July that he hadn’t spoken to Wade since he left but was constructing an email. “I just have to hit send,” Riley said last month. “That’s all. I will. I love Dwyane.”

Wade said Thursday he has not received the e-mail. “I think something is wrong with my email,” Wade said. “It ain’t come through yet.”

Incidentally, Dion Waiters, the Heat’s new starting shooting guard, said he has never thought a single time about replacing Wade here.

“You can't replace guys like that, guys who are easy Hall of Famers,” Waiters said of Wade and Chris Bosh. “Never thought about that ever. I thought he would still be here.”

• Even with Wade leaving, the Heat expects to extend its franchise record 238-game regular season home sellout streak, the NBA’s second-longest behind Dallas. The Heat is expected to make some individual game tickets available before Friday’s game, but the team is expecting the streak to continue Friday and beyond.

• Spoelstra, on the decision not to use Derrick Williams at all in Wednesday’s opener after using him as a starter during parts of preseason: “Want to keep the rotation tight. It is not an indictment on how he was playing. We're going to need him. He's getting better each day and that's all we ask. He understands.”

• Spoelstra said Josh McRoberts, who missed preseason with a foot injury, has not participated in a contact practice yet and is available “if there's a late game situation, side out of bounds. He’s our best passer. I can use him in that kind of circumstance. But he's not ready” for more than that.

Guard Wayne Ellington remains out with a right quad contusion. “He hasn't done non contact full speed work,” Spoelstra said.

• Quote of day, from Hassan Whiteside: “I eat breakfast and I get motivated. I look at my fishtank. I get even more motivated. I look at Spo’s face. I get even more motivated.”

Why does the fishtank motivate him? “The way they can swim all day and not do nothing.”

• This is neat: Haslem, the team’s captain, said after workouts with teammates this past summer, “I took the guys out to the other Miami to get a bite to eat, the barber shop. Just do things that local people do.

“I take them to get local food. You don't always have to eat on South Beach all the time and spend $2000 for a meal. You can probably spend like $12 for a great meal and get a nap. Take them to the other Miami.”

Asked if he takes them to Wynwood, Haslem said: “[Wynwood] is not real Miami anymore. Five years ago, maybe. We went to a couple spots in Liberty City. I took them to my barber shop where I get my haircut, hang out, have barber shop talk with the fellows. Nothing special.”

Haslem said the visits into the inner city have another advantage. “Certain people that can't make it to the game, can't afford to, have to work, there's a lot of people in the city who love [the players] who want to feel a part of the process of what's going on.”

Please click here for Friday’s post on what scouts and evaluators are saying about UM quarterback Brad Kaaya.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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