Heat Check

Everything Dwyane Wade said in his first day back with the Miami Heat

Here is everything Wade, 36, said in a news conference Friday morning in his first day back with the Miami Heat since be acquired in a trade from Cleveland before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline:

▪ On how he found out he was being traded: “So, about 11:45 a.m. I left my house. I was headed into the practice gym in Cleveland. It was all day before we traveled so I was going to get some work in. And about 12 o’clock I got a text from my agent Leon Rose said ‘Calling me 9-1-1.’ I haven’t gotten a lot ‘911 call me now’ messages on the trade deadline throughout my career. So I knew it was something.”

▪ On what agent Leon Rose told him: “At first it was the possibility of [the trade]. He told me about the conversation from Cleveland’s side. He said it was a conversation, something that was being talked about. Obviously I had to agree to it. And I definitely agreed to it. Then it went from there. From there, it was just kind of waiting to see how everything worked out and played [out]. So I decided to go and finish my day until I found out. Actually it was just me and LeBron [James] at the practice gym. We had lunch planned. So I said, ‘Well, since it finally happened and I’m going to Miami, let’s go have this last bad lunch. Because I’ve got to do body fat tomorrow.’ Let me go enjoy this food. I kind of had a sendoff lunch. And then I got on a plane and came here.”

▪ On his thought process Thursday night when he landed and got off the plane: “I don't know. Still now, everything is still working itself through my mind and body. But definitely landing and seeing familiar faces was more kind of more of — ‘OK, this is a little bit more real.’ I think every step of the way, it’s becoming a little bit more real. Walking in here this morning going to the trainers and then seeing my teammates come in, it’s all just happening fast. But I was definitely shocked. At the same time, I was over-the-moon excited. So I definitely had a lot of different emotions. But it’s all working itself through my body right now.”

▪ On if it seems surreal he’s here: “A little bit. I wasn’t planning on coming here until late March. The one thing I always say about the NBA is you never know what’s going to happen — especially when you leave a place. I always talk to players about ‘You never leave a place and throw shade on anyone or anything because you’re not there. You leave with grace and you never know what can happen.’ I’ve been here in a Miami uniform and seen a lot of my former teammates come back, a lot of former guys in a Miami uniform come back. So, it’s definitely something I’ve seen and knew was possible from players in the past and definitely something I envisioned for myself one day. I just didn’t know it would come right now. But I feel like the time is perfect.”

▪ On seeing Heat president Pat Riley at the funeral of agent Henry Thomas two weeks ago and if thawed things between them: “We hadn’t seen each other in awhile. It was an emotional time for me so it definitely was good to be embraced by Pat for the moment that I was dealing with and that Udonis [Haslem] was dealing with and even our Miami Heat family was dealing with. We lost a loved one. It was just a hug, an embrace and I think that’s all we both needed, that we hadn’t seen each other in awhile. You guys have seen us. We hugged a lot of times. It was just good.”

▪ On if there’s anything he learned about the Heat from being away the last year and half and if he appreciates the franchise more: “I’ve always appreciated it. We won three championships. To have the career I had here and not appreciate what this organization has been to me in my life and to other players who have been successful [isn’t right]. You get out and see other organizations and see how they do things and it’s different. Whatever different is, it’s just different. Today was my first day here, and I felt as comfortable today as I’ve felt since I left, being in other organizations. I’m definitely excited to be back. The jersey and the colors fit.”

▪ On what he anticipates Friday’s first game back in a Heat uniform being like: “I definitely feel like it’s going to be a great environment. I’m excited for a lot of different reasons. But definitely the fan base that I grew up with, that grew up with me. Just to be back in the environment, I’m excited for my teammates as well. You go through a long season. This team is on a five-game [losing] streak. When you go through a long season it’ a long lull — you kind of get a jolt of energy like tonight will be in the arena. The atmosphere will be great. I think tonight is going to be great for everybody as we go down the stretch of this season. I’m just excited to put on that jersey, get out there and just try not to be too bad.”

▪ On LeBron James saying he felt like Wade’s heart and mind were always here in Miami and if it is fair: “I mean. Yeah, it was. I think especially when I walked in there, I went there and felt there was a great chance to be a part of hopefully something special when I decided to stay there [in Cleveland]. To play with him again, etc. I think he [saw] that I watched Miami closely all the time. If I was watching something he would say ‘Whatcha doing?’ [I would answer] ‘Checking the Miami score and different things like that.’

“I definitely think going back to the question I was just asked, I think you appreciate things a little bit more when you’re away from it. Probably him as well. Me and him, we appreciate the times and moments we had. You don’t like to be in other environments saying ‘Remember when we were in Miami?’ We definitely had those conversations with each other about some of the things we did and how it was done and why it was done. Definitely, I’m happy to be back. My eyes and heart were always here. I said that from the beginning. It wasn’t going to go anywhere. I had a different zip code and jersey on my body, but who I am in the core, deep down inside, I was always here.”

▪ On if he prefers to come off the bench or start: “I just want to win, man. At this point, I want to come here and be a part of these guys. As I talked about it a little bit yesterday, just to see from afar to see the development of Josh Richardson, to see Goran be an All-Star at this level, to know what Whiteside is capable of with 20-20 nights. To be a part of all that and etc., there’s more guys down the line that I can go through. I just want to be a part of and bring what I can to this team. I’m not a coach. It’s not me job to coach and say where I should be. Coach will figure out where I fit in and how I fit in, and I just try to be the best in the role that’s presented to me either way it goes.”

▪ On the response from the public about his return and if had any anxiety on how that would go: “Not really. I know how the world works. Everybody doesn’t love Dwyane Wade. So I don’t really concern myself with that. The ones that matter and that need to matter in my life to feel OK with a decision or a choice, as long as they’re cool with it, I’m good. I definitely feel that at least 51 percent of the people are happy either way. You got 51 percent ownership of something, you’re good.”

▪ On if he sees himself as a closer still?: “First of all, Dion definitely last year did an amazing job of not only making the shots, but taking them. Being the guy who wanted the ball. That’s not saying guys in the locker room can’t do that. But he’s a guy who wanted it. He’s been breaded that way. But just playing against them, I told Udonis the other day after we lucked up and got a win the other night against the Heat, I told Udonis: ‘You guys are good, but you guys are missing something.’ I’m not saying I’m that something. But I definitely felt that maybe it’s a Dion type of player or something. I just want to come in and just be who I am. I’m not afraid of any moment. If it’s fourth quarter time, I know what to do and that’s play the game of basketball. That’s all you do. You go out there and play your game, and you use your teammates and you go from there. If I’m in that position on this team, I’ll try to deliver as I have before and if I don’t, sorry.”

▪ On what the reaction was from Heat teammates and who was happiest?: “Well, I’ll tell you one thing, [Hassan Whiteside] definitely put the pressure on me to throw him a lob. If I don’t throw him a lob early at some point, I’m in trouble. I saw his Instagram post. But I definitely think UD, it’s something that he talked to me about last year in Chicago when he came to my house when we were playing. Miami, he talked to me about. He’s continued to talk to me about it. It’s something that we obviously both had conversations about way before I left that we wanted to end our careers playing together. So I think the toughest guy on the team is the happiest that I’m here. But all teammates coming in, it was great to see them all. I told coach yesterday when I talked to him, I feel like I know these guys. I feel like I’m a part of this team already. When we played him, just the love that everyone always showed me before or after games and so forth. Coming back to Miami in the summer, seeing these guys around and spending time with them. That transition right there was pretty seamless for me coming in today.”

▪ On his his journey over the last year and a half: “It’s all a part of it, man. When I came into the NBA in 2003, I didn’t know how my career was going to be. I didn’t know what kind of journey I was going to be on. I just worked hard and let everything else take care of itself. And it’s just all a part of the journey. It’s something that happened. It’s something that now is in the past. I’m very appreciative of being back. But I’ve always been appreciative of everything from the standpoint of being here and the success we’ve had here, etc. It’s just all a part of the story, man. One day we’ll look back and they will always talk about my Heat years when I retire. They might not mention the other ones and that’s OK. It’s just all a part of it for me.”

▪ On if his glasses a fashion statement or product of age?: “It’s a product of being 36. It’s like a combination right? I had to get glasses, so I decided to pick some nice frames. All my glasses now have prescription in them. But I’ve been fighting it for a while. But I decided to go in and make sure, one thing it does is it helps me with my headaches and stuff, too. I’m not always squinting and I’ve got some blue blocker type of vibe to help with the light, as well. It’s like a combination of it all. I appreciate you noticing, though.”

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