Barry Jackson

Here’s Wade’s position on All-Star Game and how Heat will approach it. And Wade chases MJ

Dwyane Wade: ‘I think we’re a better team than 20-20.’

Dwyane Wade speaks about the need for the Heat to be better in the second half of the season.
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Dwyane Wade speaks about the need for the Heat to be better in the second half of the season.

Though his high placement in fan voting gives Dwyane Wade at least a shot to be a starter for this year’s All-Star Game, Wade said Tuesday that it doesn’t matter to him if he plays in the game, and the Heat has no plans to lobby for it.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Wade, a 12-time All-Star, said of the possibility of playing in the Feb. 17 game in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’ve been around great players for a while in my career. One last hurrah is not going to make or break what I feel about my career.

“I’ll be down there anyway, will be around some of the guys anyway, so it’s really not a big deal for me. It’s cool from a fan perspective that they have some of their favorite players, that no matter what they will always see them on that stage. But you want the guys that deserve to be in the All-Star Game, who had the best first half of the season, to be able to go live out a dream. I had that opportunity multiple times, so you want those guys to be able to do it.”

In the most recent fan voting released last week, Wade stood second among Eastern Conference guards, behind only Kyrie Irving. One more round of fan voting will be released Thursday, and voting concludes Jan. 21. All-Star starters will be announced Jan. 24 and the reserves Jan. 31.

Unlike past years, the fan balloting counts only as 50 percent of the overall procedure for selecting starters, combined with a 25 percent weighted vote from media and 25 percent weighted vote from players.

After the combined fan-media-player balloting determines the two guards and three frontcourt starters from each conference, coaches then will determine seven reserves from each conference.

Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday he won’t lobby for Wade — who hasn’t made an All Star Game since 2016 — and the Heat also isn’t planning to do that, because that has never been the organization’s approach with Pat Riley as team president.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” Spoelstra said. “It would come across so shocking and disingenuous for me to call people. That’s never been my deal. Right or wrong, it’s probably wrong. I don’t get on the phone and never have. When I receive those emails that are not written by the coach, they are cookie cutter letters, I kind of roll my eyes. His career speaks louder than any call or email I could make.”

There are a few coaches, including Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, who have called reporters through the years to lobby for players.

Fans may submit one full ballot each day, with votes counted twice on Jan. 21.

WADE RECORD

Wade, who turns 37 on Thursday, needs 28 blocks over the final 41 games to equal Michael Jordan’s NBA record for most blocks by a guard (893).

“Definitely would love it to get the No. 1 spot,” Wade said Tuesday. “It’s not as easy in my old age to get 28 blocks, but I can see what I can do. I pride myself in that ability.”

With the Heat playing in nearby Chicago on Saturday and then Boston on Monday, Wade has permission to attend Sunday’s Marquette noon home game against Providence, when Wade will be honored by his alma mater.

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski reached out to Wade before the season to find a date that could work for both parties.

“I was flattered,” Wade said. “To create another moment, with a different group of guys and student body, I’m

humbled and appreciative to be able to say thank you once again for all the support.”

Wade said he became “a little emotional” when he watched video of Sunday’s implosion of the roof of the Bradley Center, where Wade had many great moments as a player at Marquette and with the Heat.

“I was watching with [James Johnson],” he said. “A lot of memories go in that explosion for me.”

The Bucks this season moved into the Fiserv Forum, a new arena adjacent to the Bradley Center.

MCGRUDER ROLE

Though the Heat will need to make lineup changes if it eventually were to move injured Goran Dragic or Dion Waiters back into the starting lineup, Spoelstra made clear he likes what Rodney McGruder has done as a starter.

“Rodney gives us an element of toughness and intangibles and playing without the ball,” Spoelstra said. “A lot of guys become more alive when the ball is in their hands. You need guys that play without the ball for those guys to be effective, and Rodney is one of those guys.

“Particularly with Wayne [Ellington] not playing right now, he does it in a totally different way, but the majority of his offensive game is movement and cuts and accepting screens when the ball is not in his hands. That’s important for this team.”

Dragic is expected back from knee surgery around the All-Star Game.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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