Dwyane Wade, consider yourself warned.
After hearing his close friend and former Heat teammate of 13 years is likely headed to Cleveland to reunite with LeBron James, Heat captain Udonis Haslem had a rather comical reaction to what it might feel like seeing Wade, 35, in wine and gold this season.
“I will put my special request in with [coach Erik Spoelstra] for minutes in that game,” Haslem, 37, said Tuesday morning shortly after the Heat opened training camp at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. “I definitely got six fouls — probably three on each and a flagrant for Dwyane.”
Haslem, of course, was only half-kidding. The Heat’s longtime enforcer would never deliberately try to hurt Wade. He’s been trying to recruit him back to Miami since Wade reached a contract buyout with the Chicago Bulls late Sunday night.
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Wade, who left more than $8 million on the table of the $23.8 million he was owed this season to part ways with the rebuilding Bulls, will officially become a free agent once he clears waivers at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Of the four teams he listed as his preferred destinations (Miami, Cleveland, Oklahome City and San Antionio), the Heat had the most money to offer him ($4.3 million exception).
But as Wade told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, his No. 1 deciding factor was going to be his role on the team and the Heat are loaded with depth at the guard position.
“He’s not chasing rings. He’s got three rings,” Haslem said. “For him, this situation, it comes down to a lot of things. We have a lot of depth here. I don’t know if there’s as many minutes as he would like. There’s a lot of things that come into play. It’s not that he doesn’t want to be here. It’s not that he’s chasing rings. There’s a lot of things that come into play. We got a lot of young guys. We got guys that got to play. [Josh Richardson] has got to play. Justise [Winslow] has got to play. Dion [Waiters has] got to play. There’s a lot of bodies at that spot.
“At the end of the day, nothing changes for what we have in mind for our plans and what our goals are as an organization. That doesn’t change anything and I don’t take it personal at all. Dwyane has to do what he feels is best for Dwyane. Would I love to have him here? Would I love to play with him here? Yes. But nothing changes with [his] and my relationship. He’s always going to be my brother and our goals here are just the same.”
The Cavs’ only appearance at AmericanAirlines Arena this season is on March 27.
Could Wade reunite with the Heat after he completes his reported one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavs next season?
Nobody should rule it out.
“Whatever Dwyane does it’s not ever going to change how I feel about him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday. “It’s more about our hopes for where he ends up eventually.
“Everybody knows how I feel about him. Read between the lines. South Florida is a great place.”