Wade goes home, too, by staying put


VIDEO: Wade lets the basketball world know his plans

LAS VEGAS – “Home is where the heart is,” Dwyane Wade wrote on Twitter, announcing his decision to re-sign with the Miami Heat and taking the pressure off a whole lot of people in the wake of LeBron James‘ decision to return to Cleveland.

It never was James’ intent, of course, to apply that pressure when he made such a splash – heartfelt, even touching (while allowing for some legit basketball reasons) – with his essay on SI.com about going home. To James, he was, is and always shall be someone entwined with northeast Ohio, from his boyhood in Akron to the seven NBA seasons he played for the Cavaliers. Millions of people are like that – wouldn’t think of living or working elsewhere, like our own David Aldridge – so for James to yield to that tugging on his sleeve and his heartstrings is an admirable thing.

For millions of others, though, home is where you make it. Maybe it’s where you work, a place perhaps unknown to you when you said yes to the job offer but vibrant and embracing enough to make you feel as if you always belong. Maybe it’s where you attended college, deciding to stay for some post-post-post-graduate work in life.

Maybe it’s some part of the country where the scenery or the climate is completely different from where you grew up. Just because your parents didn’t mind six months of winter, or four months every year where you never set foot outside without AC, doesn’t mean you’re bound to.

Me, I feel like home is where my wife is. And for many, it’s the spouse’s life that dictates the location, whether for career, family or simple preferences. For many others, though, home is where the relatives and folks who knew you when aren’t. Some people prefer to leave family and friends behind to build lives and seize adventures purely of their own making. Others want distance for its own sake.

Plot enough points among all those variables and you’ll find Wade, anchored in south Florida regardless of the All-Stars and teammates who choose to join or leave him. He has spent 11 years there and, from all signs, will always consider it home. It doesn’t matter that he grew up in Robbins, Ill., a suburb south of Chicago, or attended Marquette University in Milwaukee for three years. Miami is the place Wade became a man, began and is raising a family, has enjoyed all his professional success (three Heat championships) and will be honored in a few years in bronze outside AmericanAirlines Arena.

So if LeBron cast a vote for roots and homecomings Friday, Wade cast one four days later for adopted hometowns, fresh beginnings and career mobility. That speaks to a lot of NBA fans too.

Now, as far as the basketball aspect of this, there’s nothing surprising about Wade re-upping with the Heat. There never was a market for him to go elsewhere, based on a couple of things.

First, the entire league knew Wade would stay put and only opted out of the two years, $42 million left on his contract to provide team president Pat Riley with some salary-cap flexibility. James and forward Chris Bosh did the same, though the plan changed dramatically when James decided to go back to the Cavs.

The other reason for Wade’s lack of suitors was the sense around the NBA that his best days, and even his good ones, might be behind him. The 10-time All-Star still was productive for much of the regular season – when he played, that is.

Wade missed 28 games due to, and as a precaution for, his long-aching knees. Per 36 minutes, he averaged 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.3 blocks, not far off his career numbers, except his average and total minutes were down. And all that sitting in the regular season ultimately did not pay off; Wade had three lackluster games to finish out The Finals against San Antonio.

The idea all along was that Wade might give up some dollars in the short term – Riley referred to the shooting guard’s “sacrifice” in announcing his re-signing – and be rewarded with a deal stretching beyond 2016-17. Initial reports Tuesday, however, suggested that wasn’t the case – the Associated Press estimated Wade’s new deal to be for two years at $16 million to $17 million per year.

That’s less than he had coming to him, guaranteed, had he never opted out. It allows the Heat to stay nimble, and avoid committing a fat eight-figure salary to a player whose knees likely won’t be NBA-healthier when he’s 34 or 35 than they are right now. It also lightens the needle on this sort of social-media snark:

At this point, it’s pretty clear Wade – who refers to himself as a “Heat lifer” – can have a job with the Miami franchise for as long as he chooses. If that continues into his post-playing days, well, whatever he, Riley and the Arison family work out then won’t be subject to the salary cap or luxury tax. From that perspective, home is where the $$$ is.

Still, there’s no need to be cynical here. Chicago, and the Bulls, never did anything wrong to keep Wade away from the market in which he grew up – in fact, he rooted and dreamed of playing for the Bulls (and would have been drafted there if they had been able to sneak up from No. 7 to snag him).

Like so many people, Wade left college, moved to start a job and put down roots. Those are the ones to which he stayed true Tuesday. It’s a Derek Jeter thing on MLB All-Star Tuesday, and who’s to quibble with that?

48 Comments

  1. HeatLifer says:

    since 2006…..Id Love Miami Heat Team already…were Wade and Shaq won the finals

  2. Excellent piece.Wade will always remain on of my alltime favorite NBA players-on and off the court.
    Good job by Heat management.

  3. Max says:

    LeBron is the best Basketball Player to ever play the game! I am not a Heat Fan or a CAVS fan, but the truth? NO player EVER can play the entire court, including rebounds and yes put backs for two points like L.James!

  4. Max says:

    Glad to see Wade stick to where he calls HOME! Will Nash leave US for Canada? Do not think so, Children must remain in PHX. If the Owner & GM for the Lakers are smart??? They will offer Nash the Head Coaching job for the Lakers. He has the very highest IQ for the game of Basketball. Even better than Fisher and the rolling Gadd!

  5. blj says:

    Dewayne Wade never was and never will be a great bb force. Completely manufactured by David Stern.
    blj

  6. Gio says:

    Poor lebron he needs somebody like DW to win a championship without him he is nothing…….lebron destroy his career sorry for him….no more championship for you lebron .

  7. not hatin', just sayin' says:

    here’s a thought… if the Heat were to three-peat this year, would LeBron still go back to Cleveland?
    what you guys think?

    • JG says:

      Of course not, he said as much.

      He would have been back on one year deals (opt ins) until we lost, while checking how DWade and the heat shape up.

  8. JOE says:

    WADE IS A LOYAL PERSON HE WILL HAVE A GREAT 2 YEARS WITH THE HEAT PLUS THERE IS SOME ONE NAME PAT RIELY WHO KNOWS HOW TO PUT A TEAM TO CONTEND

  9. i guess miami won’t win any rings this year..Bulls in the East! wooo!

  10. Frank says:

    He is a winner not like lebron and he stuck to his franchise that gave him all the support. He deserves a lot more credit.
    Him and Chris bosh are genuine and the tides don’t shake them like lebron.

  11. Donbus says:

    Lebron Left because he wanted to go not because Dwade was old…. people are about to see one of Dwyane Wade best seasons, he is a proven champion, and he has a ship on his shoulder this year to prove the he still is an elite player.

    i really want to see the Cavs and Heat for the ECF Championchip…. i got miami on this one.

  12. Shawn says:

    Bad move for the Heat. The are paying this guy for the past, and with him the future is dull in Miami. He can’t beat guys off the dribble anymore and his jumper wasn’t that great to begin with. Before LBJ joined the Heat, Miami was a team that barley made the playoffs and when they did they were bounced out in the first round 4 out of 5 years, and the 5th they didn’t make the playoffs. That was EIGHT years ago, when Wade was a far better player than he is now, and even then he couldn’t get them past the first round. The guy is almost ten years older, his knees are 20 years older, you sat him for almost half of the regular season two years running and after all of that he gives you an average of 16 point per game in The Finals? Then you pay him 33 million over 2 years? No wonder LBJ took his ball and went home……

  13. Awesome John says:

    I think the entire NBA and is going to get a spectacular surprise in 2014-15 season…

    I think Wade (who is a fierce competitor and a very PROUD individual) will play at a caliber that will drop some jaws all season long… His gentlemanly support of Pat Riley and Pat in return looking out for his loyal legendary player and the security and peace of mind that gave Wade is a key factor in his viewpoint towards the upcoming season. I think Wade will bear down train his butt off and leave a huge mark on the upcoming season.. Mark my words the new season will be the season of two greats that will bitchslap the NBA and say “hey we aint done yet!”

    and who is the other star that will drop jaws with his brilliance in the new season?

    Kobe Bryant…

    Wade and Bryant are hall of fame caliber players who deserve the title “legendary”… these guy have hearts like atomic reactors they are not your normal human beings, their desire to win eat them alive…. these guys are from that special batch of players in the NBA whom are called “The Greats”

    Dont count out Derek Rose either.. except his style of play where his athleticism around the rim makes him accident prone is a factor he must deal with…. but he only knows how to play 100% every game so its gonna be a tough season but a great season… Look for Wade to start busting early, Kobe will need time to re-calibrate his ultra high performance and touch..

    Rose “when healthy” is at the same level as Wade and Kobe .. there are many new young players this year as well but Wade, Kobe and Rose have a very big surprise ready for EVERYONE… Mark my words :)

  14. darko says:

    D-WADE is the HEART and SOUL of the HEAT, just like the GREAT TIM HARDAWAY and ZO were.. The magic that he bring too the game is priceless…
    D-WADE, after MAGIC JOHNSON and MICHAEL JORDAN is the BEST basketball player and figure i have ever seen in the NBA… it’s sad that he had problems with injuries, they slow him down for a little, but hes got more too give and the one off the greatest- PAT RILEY knows that, and he always drew a right moves, so i believe that he will do the same for next season… HEAT FOR LIFE… BEST REGARDS FROM MACEDONIA

  15. Noel says:

    One thing D Wade should have learned from Lebron is that ball hogging doesn’t win championship unless you are Michael Jordan.

    One thing Lebron learned from DWade is that you don’t have to be scared when playing Championship or playing a very very close game.

    Hopefully we will not see a cuticle eater in Cleveland.

  16. 2475brickell says:

    all the comments are really interesting .

    I believe miami will make playoffs this year , but don’t know how far they can go.

    Of course the salary is important in the decision making, Wade is doing whats best for Wade.

    But it is true that miami lost some fans with lebron gone, unless wade gets some new knees from an orthopedic surgeon

    and puts on a show.

  17. Robert Contreras says:

    I am not a Miami Heat fan but a D Wade fan. He is one of my all time favorite players. I wish him all the best. Bosh is a good player but I believe Miami overpays him this time.

  18. MVP07 says:

    3.3 Blocks per 36min ??? just wrong :)

    great article

  19. Petro3 says:

    Wade was the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals. This proves that Shaquille didn’t carry Wade, rather, it was the other way around! :)

  20. Whom says:

    I have much respect for Wade, always have. I’m a Miami Heat hater, I admit and am not ashamed of it. But it’s mostly because of the so-called fans here living in Florida. You can say he’s dirty, which he may be but no one can get into a guy’s head, or that he’s overrated, or that he signed only because no one else wanted him (he could have been stubborn and just opted in to his previous contract). Fact is he has a lot of respect for the place that made him (Miami) and obviously Miami feels likewise (or at least the team does, I’ve heard “fans” insist he be gotten rid of). So for all the Wade haters and Miami fans who want him gone once it’s become convenient to do so, I say this: he has the heart of a champion, but first and foremost, a heart committed to the ones he knows he owes his success to. You can’t ask for a better way of showing how much he appreciates what the city of Miami has given him.

  21. allan says:

    I cheers for MIAMI HEAT.

  22. Benjie says:

    I lost interest when Jordan retired. I stopped watching NBA until I saw wade played on his rookie year.Better than lebron or kobi .That was proven in 2006 finals . Main scorer of heat 35 points per game in finals.unbelivable skills and plenty of fighting spirit and have a big heart. Every body will be consumed by time. For wade it’s just normal for him to slow down specially if your playing the athletic skills he play every day. even now I still love his individual play and he improved his efficiency and shooting percentage.not even kobi can do that after 11 years of playing. His a smart player and I still love to watch him play.Irregardless of what people say his the 2nd best shooting guard second to Jordan.thats just my opinion.

  23. Ryan says:

    Heat probably will advance to the Playoffs, but fall in the early rounds… My EC playoffs prediction:
    R1 –
    Pacers(1) x Hawks(8)
    Bulls(2) x Nets(7)
    Cavs(3) x Heat(6)
    Raptors(4) x Wizards(5)

    R2 –
    Pacers x Wizards
    Bulls x Cavs

    R3 –
    Pacers x Bulls

    BULLS to the Finals..!!

  24. eddie says:

    Stern gave wade the 1st ring.

  25. troy squalls says:

    My Pistons bout to smash the Heat and the Cavs this coming season!

  26. Carlo says:

    Home is where the wallet is.

    Ok, it’s the heart. But they’re very close, no?

    Besides, is there any other franchise available to pay 16/17M for Wade?

  27. captain3peat says:

    Glad to see all the positive Wade comments. The dude shot 54% last year and averaged 19 ppg…That’s a great and beneficial player if you ask me. I bet he averages at least three more points a game this year. Why? Because he will have the ball A LOT more than when LBJ was here and when your shooting at 54% the odds are in your favor. Also because tendinitis only gets better with time.

  28. Y.Olo says:

    Dwyane Wade is still an elite talent now that lebron is gone he can now go back to elite form again i dont think his best years are completely behind him yet, with lebron he had no reason to push himself since he didnt have to do too much but now he has to do that for them to be successful so look out for DWade next season he will surprise you.
    And Chris Bosh is really overpaid he will not by any means carry the Heat in the playoffs since hes guardable he doesnt post up anymore hes basketball a 7’0 guard and he cant even shoot 3s all that well either

  29. ericwu says:

    I am very happy to know that Wade is stay with Miami Heat! He is the icon and also the leader of Miami, Leberon got 2 champion with him..
    Wade is younger than me but I start to notice him from 2003, his rookie year , the shot faced Byron Davis. After that, he grew up as super star and all his game are amazing!

    and he deserved all the admiration from all over the world!

    I wish Wade still have a very brilliant future and do something good for Miami heat!

    Go go go, Miami!

  30. dwade4life says:

    flash is flash, no one will replace him. He is the heart and soul of Miami. That is what LBJ is lacking for a big heart for the fans, city, team and for the GAME! not an LBJ hater just sayin’.

  31. holyspectator says:

    RIP miami heat, no more rings…oh well

  32. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    I wish Wade well.. but this 2 year deal has a “player option” for the 2nd year. I have a feeling Wade wont last 2 years, which is part of the reason why LeBron left.

    • NAH HAN says:

      yeah because lebron knew that his so called home got a young talented players who can help him when he is choking. a great player but a proven choker. no heart. no killer instinct. a d1ckrider. a quitter. just hyped. just 1st – 3rd qtr in his blood.

  33. bull4life says:

    It will be interesting to see what Wade can do without Lebron, he’s been with the Heat for almost 10 years and his 3 rings were on the back of someone else. First Shaq, then Lebron for the next two. I’m not a lebron fan, but I dont see Miami winning anymore rings for a while, Bosh is overpaid and def can’t carry a team far in the playoffs. and Deng is a traitor even tho Chicago is partially responsible for this situation to begin with. Rose goes down and Deng takes the bullet to avoid a luxury tax.

    • kurt says:

      if you watch finals 2006, you will see that in game 3 the heat were down by 13 with 6 mins to go, and wade led a furious comeback to help the heat avoid going down 3-0. Yes he piggybacked on lebron the last 4 years, but he didnt piggyback on shaq in 2006. He is and always was the heart and soul of this team

      • Carlo says:

        If you watch Finals 2006, you will see an 8-years younger Wade.

      • astrose00 says:

        Agree to a point. He carried the 06 team and was the best heat player when they lost to dallas. LeBron choked. LeBron would have 0 rings without dwade. Stop falling for the hype. Dwade faltered in 14 finals and LeBron carried no one. He never does. Ray Allens three saved LeBron from a 20 percent finals win percentage. Wade is 60 percent.

    • dave says:

      3 rings on the back of someone else? are you kidding me? the 1st ring Wade put the team on his back and he earned it. It was one of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen.

      He had a significant role in the other 2 as well

    • BraveBart says:

      You must be some kind of stupid. Wade carried the Heat to the championship in 2006, not Shaq. He sacrificed money to get LBJ and Bosh in 2010. And again, willing to sacrifice money by opting out this year to accommodate LBJ. A true HeatLifer, indeed.

    • Frank says:

      He carried Shaquille not the other way and if it wasn’t for him and bosh and the miami heat organization lebron would have never won a ring in his life.
      So they helped lebron win a ring not the other way around , lebron does not have a killer instinct to finish up games.

  34. ko0kiE says:

    wade may not be flash anymore but he has developed a nice post up game where he doesn’t have to rely on this athletic abilities.. and miami might not be as good as previous years, but they will still be a top team in the east with the addition of deng..

  35. harrythehawk says:

    I’m ready to see Wade in a front office position. He is part of the reason why LeBron James left Miami. They may be good friends but you gotta know when to quit.

  36. Ball Of Flame says:

    I’m glad to hear of my mans decision even though i felt he would stay, he was the reason I started to watch NBA basketball again after Jordan retired. Wade County stand up!

  37. mee(a)t says:

    Really happy to see Wade stay(I didn’t expect him to leave)…he may not be the same player over the years but as a fan, it’s always nice to see him on the floor.