The contract situation of Chicago Bulls veteran guard Dwyane Wade has led to an avalanche of speculation about what might take place during the upcoming season, with a buyout generally accepted as the most likely thing to happen. Since Wade has spoken about potentially rejoining his former team, the Miami Heat, Heat team president Pat Riley was asked about his opinion on the possibilities.
Riley spoke during a preseason media session at AmericanAirlines Arena about Wade, though his tone was measured in order to avoid any hint of tampering, since the veteran’s contract officially runs through the end of the upcoming campaign.
“I feel great about our relationship that we had over the 13 years,” Riley said. “Anything that happens from a personnel standpoint down the road or any opportunities that are there, we’re always going to approach that.
“But right now he’s under contract with Chicago and I wish him the very best.”
Even if Wade doesn’t end up in a Heat uniform to end his career, Riley is certain that his legacy with the franchise was established long ago.
“Other than actually being in love with Dwyane Wade because of our relationship over 13 years when he was here, and remembering when Jason Terry missed that shot in Dallas and Dwyane collared the rebound, threw it to the heavens and we won the championship and he was MVP of that series,” Riley said of the 2006 NBA Finals, “other than that, if something happens, and I can speak to this because he’s under contract to them, I’m just speaking of my experience with Dwyane.”
The chances for a buyout appear to have been enhanced by statements made on Thursday by Bulls general manager John Paxson.
“We want to work with Dwyane because we respect him very much. If he doesn’t want to be here, then we want to do [a buyout],” Paxson said. “But again, the bottom line is always — and it has to be — that we have to do what’s in our best interest.”
While the Heat are one of the main contenders for Wade’s services if that buyout is completed, they’ll likely be in competition with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s because Wade’s close friend and former teammate with the Heat, LeBron James, would jump at the chance to have him added to their roster. In addition, the Cavaliers are considered to have a much better shot at competing for an NBA title than the Heat. Riley is no doubt privately hoping that the roots that Wade planted during his 13 years with the Heat are strong enough to convince him otherwise.