Greg Cote

Don’t blame Wade for choosing Cavs, because we know he’ll end up right where he belongs

Dwyane Wade is in Cleveland now, but we all know where he’ll end his career.
Dwyane Wade is in Cleveland now, but we all know where he’ll end his career. El Nuevo Herald staff

We love singling out villains and laying blame. It is what we do, fans and Your Friend The Media alike. We scream, rail, vent, shake fists and fire people who don't work for us. We perform autopsies on live bodies. It's the game we most like to play in all of sports.

So this is no fun at all.

Dwyane Wade signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers — instead of returning to Miami — and it is nobody's fault. It's all good. Best wishes and Kumbaya!

It isn't Dwyane's fault. He is going where he thinks he has the best shot at a one more NBA championship, where he can enjoy the biggest role, and where he feels most wanted in the BFF embrace of LeBron James.

It isn't Pat Riley's or the Heat's fault. They have intuited for months that Wade was Cavs-bound but that was just fine because they preferred not to mess with last season's 30-11 second-half team by trying to shoehorn an aging star into a deep backcourt.

It isn't even LeBron's fault, as much as we'd love it to be.

James dumping the Cavs for Miami caused jersey bonfires in Cleveland, Wade leaving Miami for Chicago last year was a gut punch that didn't feel at all right, and Kevin Durant bolting Oklahoma City for Golden State brought all sorts of condemnation.

But this? It's like the proverbial trade that helps both teams.

Cleveland is improved with Wade. Yes, he is 35, shot a career-low 43.4 percent last season and isn't the defender he once was, but if what he mostly does is make LeBron happy, then Cleveland is better.

And, yes, Miami is better without him. Where would the Heat have found the minutes and shots for Wade? Would he have stunted the blossoming of Dion Waiters? And Miami plays what coach Erik Spoelstra likes to be when Goran Dragic is directing go-go-go, not when Wade is slowing everything down.

Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade makes his way onto the court at AmericanAirlines Arena prior to the game against the Heat on Thurs., Nov. 10, 2016.

“Honestly, I didn't feel they needed me there,” Wade said of the Heat, to the Associated Press, speaking from the Cavs' locker room. “Those guys are in a good place.”

Wade and Cleveland made a pragmatic decision: a good team adding a strategic piece.

Miami's would have been a nostalgic decision if it had wooed and won Wade back right now.

There will be a time for nostalgia, though, yes.

Wade made that clear to The AP, to nobody's surprise. Because it always felt inevitable.

“Miami, the door's always unlocked,” he said. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don't know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure that when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is one."

It will happen. Because the team feels just as Wade does. “Absolutely,” a Heat executive told us Thursday.

It might be for a final season — maybe as soon as next year — and it might be on a ceremonial 1-day contract in a few years, but Dwyane will end up back in “Wade County” and it will feel right.

They will raise his ‘3’ to the rafters, retiring his jersey number.

I'm not big on statues, but if anybody who has ever played in this town deserves one as much or more than Dan Marino, it is Wade.

I get the disappointment of some in Miami that Wade chose to leave for Chicago last year and this time chose Cleveland. The anger, I don't get. The Wade/Heat parting has been something of a mutual thing, doubtless with shared regret but with resolve on both sides to move on. But bridges that smoldered have been mended.

Wade knows where his NBA home is, and where it always will be.

Just as the Heat knows its favorite son will be back, in time, and that Miami — franchise and city — will be waiting with open arms and heart.

This story will end happily, with tears of gratitude all around.

Dwyane Wade has meant too much here, and been loved too much, for it not to.

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