MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Enough time has passed that everyone should be used to the idea of Dwyane Wade playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Well, at least until he steps on the court in a Cavs jersey for the first time. That sight will take a moment to digest, no doubt.
But until that day comes (Cleveland opens its preseason schedule Wednesday against Atlanta at Quicklen Loans Arena), the Heat and its fans should be focused on what can be controlled.
The season is at hand folks.
The Miami Heat played its first game of the preseason on Sunday and showed both why the team succeeded so much during the second half of last season and why things could continue on that trend this year.
One thing that coach Erik Spoelstra did that was interesting was he utilized different offensive approaches depending on what lineup was on the floor.
He kept center Hassan Whiteside in his more traditional, bruising role down low while using new big man Kelly Olynuk towards the top of the key as more of a facilitator due to his ability to hit outside shots.
But we’ll save the analysis of Spoelstra’s roster usage for another time.
This post is about Dwyane Wade and his continued comments about the Heat.
I’ll preface this by saying that I still love Dwyane and cherish everything he did while playing in Miami-Wade County.
He has every right to move on and play for whatever teams he chooses.
Want to join your hometown team in Chicago? Go for it.
Play another season with best friend LeBron James, even if it’s in Cleveland? By all means…do what makes you happy.
Just stop airing out your old Miami Heat laundry while lounging in your new Ohio digs.
I get it…Wade is still upset about the way the summer of 2014 went down.
He, LeBron and Chris Bosh all opted out of their contracts in order to give the Heat more flexibility in the event all three wanted to return.
“By opting out of a deal, if we’re all coming back together, then we’ll figure out how much money we’re willing to take,” Wade said Friday. “If LeBron makes a decision to go back [to Cleveland], you take care of your guys.”
Well, James left for his hometown Cavaliers and Miami (well, Pat Riley) was left trying to pick up the pieces.
The Heat gave Chris Bosh (who had just turned 30 in March of that year and was playing the best ball of his career) a max contract, and then $20 million over two years to free agent Luol Deng.
Wade was offered a two-year deal worth $31 million that summer, which he signed.
“I wasn’t a part of that, getting taken care of,” Wade said. “Everybody wants to paint that on LeBron, but LeBron made a decision for him. It was Miami’s decision not to give me the money they gave me. Simple as that. They gave it to Chris [Bosh] and Luol [Deng], they didn’t give it to me. But I kept professional and kept playing basketball until I just decided to walk away from it.”
Wade opted out of the $31 million deal the next year, and Miami offered him a one-year, $20 million deal for the 2015-16 season, which he signed.
He was 33 at the time.
The following summer Wade left the Heat and accepted the Bulls offer of $47 million over two years.
Riley wanted to pay him year-by-year to allow the team flexibility in free agency by utilizing the Bird Rights that applied to Wade, but that didn’t work for Dwyane.
He ended up playing one year in Chicago before completing a buyout with the Bulls and signing with Cleveland a couple days later for the veteran’s minimum of $2.3 million.
Now Wade is happy again, hoping to rekindle some of the magic that he and James conjured during their time together in Miami.
“Every time we walk by each other in the locker room and everywhere, we just look at each other and shake our head because it just don’t seem real,” Wade said. “It’s like, ‘How did this happen? How did we get here?’ We just start laughing every time we walk by each other.
“It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t expected, but when it happened, it happened and everything happened fast. It’s definitely cool. It’s definitely good to have a friend here, somebody that you respect here, that’s playing the game here.”
Again, I’m wishing Wade nothing but the best moving forward…but let’s leave the past in the past.
That way there may still be a future with Wade wearing a Heat jersey, one last time.