Something happened between Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat front office over the summer — we never knew for certain what it was, but, Wade leaving the only franchise he’s ever played for … the only city he’s every played (professionally) in … it had the feeling of a serious divorce.
Wade spent the entire Summer playing down any and all accusations about the rift between he and Heat president Pat Riley, exclaiming how happy he was to be in Chicago — however, fast-forward to Tuesday, and he finally broke the silence to CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill:
I thought it was an opportunity I would be there forever, but s— happens … And when s— happens, you gotta be prepared to (move on). I found out very quickly that this is a business.
When asked to elaborate on how he made financial sacrifices so that the Heat could open up salary cap space for Chris Bosh and LeBron James to form the original ‘Big 3’, Wade said:
The biggest thing, is all about the way you communicate. I understand this business just as good as anybody. But it’s a way, someone like me, a way you communicate what you’re trying to do, and how you’re gonna do it and what it looks like for me.
That’s it. When you get respect, that’s what you get back … I’ve given nothing but respect. I feel like a lot of things in this world and this league are mishandled from the notion of communication. That’s it.
At the end of the day, I talked to those guys and I told them, ‘It’s free agency. I understand y’all have a job to do, and I have a job to do as well.’ I let it be known I was going to be a free agent and I wasn’t waiting by the phone for them to call me.”
On Hassan Whiteside receiving a max deal from the Heat:
And I did my homework because I understand Hassan was a priority, which he should’ve been … I understood that they were trying to go out and get KD, because that’s something they wanted to do. But I had to look out for myself and put myself in a situation that I wanted to be in, if things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to work out and they didn’t.
You do things because you want to do them. All those things I did to stay in Miami was because I wanted to do them … When I made the sacrifice, when I could’ve gotten $127 million and I took $110 million to make sure LeBron and Chris (come) but I also have UD (Haslem) stay, those were things I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be in Miami and enjoy the success and not have UD there.”
Wade then cited LeBron’s departure back to Cleveland as the turning point:
That’s when things started changing … They decided to max out Chris, which I was all for. And then it became a situation with me from that standpoint and I wasn’t happy with it. I ain’t gonna say, oh, I was happy go lucky … Then I opted out again and the next year I signed the one-year, $20 million deal because I never made $20 million in a season. I wanted multiple years, they wanted to be players in free agency, I understand that.
It might’ve been different. I don’t know. It could’ve been. It never happened … It’s hard to say because it never happened. I was never put in that position, and I wasn’t the first option. I’m not sensitive to say, ‘If I’m not the first option, I’m leaving.
And on Wade’s current relationship with the Miami Heat front office:
I’ve kept in touch from everybody there besides Pat. From the owners on down … It’s nothing but respect, and I have no hard feelings. I understand what Pat is, he’s a competitor. I’ve been knowing him for 13 years so I expect no different. People might not believe me, but I have no hard feelings toward Pat. Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen, everything happens for a reason, so I’m fine.
Life is too short to be holding grudges. At the end of the day, Pat has helped me become a very rich man … Me and Pat have won championships together. We’ve both helped each other’s legacies. I love that guy. I know how he is. He’s stubborn just like I am.
There you have it, folks, Wade’s breakup with the Heat wasn’t pretty — but it may have been for the best for all parties involved.