HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kudos to Dwyane Wade for setting the record straight from the start, for addressing the Miami Heat’s outstanding issues up front and making sure that the looming free agency situation that could overshadow a lesser group won’t be a problem this season.
That doesn’t mean those of us in the fourth estate won’t make a mess of things a time or two (or three, or four, or five, or six …) this season. That is, after all, what some of us are paid to do.
But as a team leader and one of the main cogs in the Heat’s three-peat machine, Wade knows that his health and how that impacts this season and beyond for the Heat is the underlying story for them. While some people are anticipating a breakup of some sorts of the Heat’s Big 3 of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, that’s not how Wade sees it.
What could be a major distraction for some is just a minor inconvenience where Wade is concerned.
“You have concern when you feel people want to go elsewhere,” Wade said at Heat Media Day. “I don’t think nobody here is looking to go elsewhere. So that’s not a concern. We don’t have guys waiting to get out of this situation. This is a very good situation to be in. I think people enjoy being in it. So guys thinking about their contracts, I don’t see it as a problem. We don’t have young guys looking for their first major re-up, to get paid. We got guys who got paid a few times. So I don’t look at that as being a problem. It won’t be a problem.
“Obviously, there will be a lot of media attention around LeBron James’ decision, of what he’ll do when the summer’s up. But we all know inside our locker room that LeBron is committed to this team. He’s committed to being one of the great players. He’s committed to winning another championship. And the business side for 75 percent of our locker room will happen when it’s time for it to happen. I don’t think no one is rushing to get to that point.”
It certainly helps when the entire organization is reading from the same memo on this. LeBron shut down the free agency line of questioning at Media Day before it could pick up any real steam. And you know Heat boss Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra won’t entertain those questions throughout the season, no matter what the Heat are doing in the standings at a given time.
“We’ll address it but we don’t need to belabor it,” Spoelstra said. “Our guys aren’t naive to the business of basketball. And you have to respect everybody’s point in their career when they become a free agent. There’s nothing wrong with it. We also will have to focus on now and not be obsessed with the future, because it’s unknown.
“It’ll probably be a bigger storyline out there than it will be in our locker room. We’ve dealt with quite a few storylines over the years.”
Wade diving in early and as emphatically as he did, however, slams the door on the drama. And I love that. The Heat have a chance to chase history this season. Whether you are rooting for or against them, you want to see them do it with few distractions as possible.
Wade knows his health will be as big an issue all season anyway. So there’s no need for added pressure, at least not internally.
“My body’s going to do what my body wants to do,” Wade said. “If it was up to me, I would never have a sprained ankle in my life. But it’s not up to me.”
“I know when I’m healthy how well I play. And I know when I’m not healthy how well I still can play. But I would rather be healthy to give this team its best opportunity. But LeBron James’ decision is LeBron James’ decision. Whether I’m healthy or not healthy, he’s going to make the decision that’s best for him and his family. That’s all you can expect from that situation. So don’t try to put that pressure on me. Y’all can stop that right now. It’s not my decision.”