Dwyane Wade had a bitter breakup with the Miami Heat this summer, leaving the team after 13 years and later acknowledging he felt disrespected because Pat Riley didn’t call him or make him a better offer.
However, Wade hasn’t trashed his old team to the media, and he got a warm reception when he returned Thursday night as a member of the Chicago Bulls.
If Wade is handling his breakup much better than, say, Kevin Durant, there has to be a reason, and Jason Whitlock thinks he knows what it is.
"I think Dwyane Wade is being very clever here. I think he’s trying to create leverage for his career after basketball," Whitlock said on "Speak For Yourself" on Friday. "I think with [Heat owner] Micky Arison, he’s playing a wounded victim. ‘Pat Riley treated me wrong.’ He’s creating leverage. Pat Riley’s in his 70s. He’s got two, three, four years left. When Wade’s career is over, I think Dwyane Wade wants to run the Miami Heat, and he’s using the split with Riley to make them feel indebted to him."
FS1 NBA insider Chris Broussard agreed that he thinks Wade will return to Miami, but pointed out that while the Heat bring back some of their stars, they’re not given key roles.
"Juwan Howard is on the coaching staff, but a lot of the guys are in Community Relations and things like that. None of them really are in decision-making roles," Broussard said.
Riley is a former player who became a coach and then general manager and team president, and several other former players have had similar career paths, including Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale. But of the NBA’s 30 current GMs, only five — Ainge, Mitch Kupchak, Dell Demps, Kevin Pritchard and Sean Marks — were former players.
Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade reacts to a fan during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. The Bulls won 98-95.