Dwyane Wade hasn’t had the best relationship with Heat president Pat Riley since his time in Miami came to an end. The two alphas, and fierce competitors, soured on each other over the way Wade’s pending free agency in 2016 was handled by Miami.
Each side feeling disrespected, Wade left South Florida to join his hometown Chicago Bulls for one year before teaming up LeBron James again in Cleveland this season.
So how did Wade end up returning to play for Riley and Miami less than two years after they went their own ways? Well, it started with a hug.
Following the death of Wade’s former agent, Henry Thomas, last month, Wade and Riley ran into each other at Thomas’ funeral in Chicago. They didn’t have too many words for each other, but they didn’t need many either. Instead, the two embraced and the bad blood seemed to dissipate.
“The hug that we embraced was real and it was all we needed,” Wade told the Associated Press on Thursday. “That’s it. That’s all we both needed. I walked away and I felt better about everything, without even getting into anything.”
As Cleveland attempted to overhaul its roster at the NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers were able to send Wade back to Miami for a second-round pick in 2024. It’ll be a rather easy transition, too. Wade’s kids are still in Miami. He still owns his same home there and the fans seem more than ready to cheer him on again.
Already the Miami Vice city edition jersey for the Heat displaying Wade’s name is on backorder and won’t ship out until June 1.
— The Miami HEAT Store (@MiamiHEATstore) February 9, 2018
As far as what fans can expect from Wade on the court, that remains to be seen. The 36-year-old averaged 11.2 points, 3.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game this year in a limited roll with Cleveland. Wade told the AP he’s completely fine with coming off the bench for the Heat — Riley said that would be a likely course of action early on — and believes Miami has a playoff-caliber team.
The guard is hoping to make it back to South Florida in time to suit up against Milwaukee on Friday. You can bet there will be plenty more hugs given out when that happens.
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