All good things must come to an end and the NBA is big business first, as we have found out during this crazy free agent period. As great as an asset as Dwyane Wade has been for the Miami Heat, his asking price as a deteriorating, 34-year-old player was too high for President Pat Riley, who has accepted the fact that Miami is in rebuild mode and didn’t want to albatross his team with an aging superstar.
Wade wasn’t feeling the hesitation on giving up the loot and he decided to express his displeasure with Miami by returning home to Chicago and signing a two-year, $47 million deal with the Bulls.
"I'm excited to go back to the place where I always envisioned playing basketball," said Wade on Live with Kelly this morning. "Being a kid growing up, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was the team for us...It's still surreal and I'm still numb."
It's obvious that Wade was numb and very cold to the Heat's negotiating strategy. The trust between Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade was lost somewhere along the line.
In a move befitting the emotional response to this situation by all parties involved as well as the fans watching it like a movie unfolding, Wade gives Miami his butt to kiss and returns to the city that laid the foundation for his future success on the hardwood and his gritty, fearless and ultra competitive style of play.
Emotions will run wild in a situation like this. Wade has brought three championships to the franchise and for him to be there 13 years and never get the highest contract on the team while dudes like Shaq and LeBron and even Chris Bosh got crazy paid, it wasn’t hard for Wade to feel slighted.
When your boss’ value of your contributions don’t match the world’s view of your stature, that can always create a problem. You know Wade feels like he's still worth top dollar and the state of Florida wouldn't disagree.
Problem is, Wade wants to get paid for past accomplishments, which in reality, he was already paid for in myriad ways from titles, to unimaginable celebrity and wealth. He was ticked off because Miami spent more time freeing up money for Hassan Whiteside’s huge deal and Kevin Durant’s possible arrival than securing their franchise player.
Truth is, Wade is old and spoiled. Don't get it twisted. He has definitely earned the right to be a prima donna. He was taken No. 5 out of Marquette, and is the last of the lauded 2003 NBA Draft class to remain with his original team. He gave the Miami more than a decade of blood, sweat and tears and distinguished himself as probably the third best two-guard since Jordan, becoming a perennial All-Star and making five finals appearances. Wade is the reason why LBJ brought his talents to South Beach. And the reason why Miami has been an NBA hotbed and desired free agent destination the last decade.
He’s been the consummate pro for the Heat and is the epitome of a franchise player. Unfortunately, a few million dollar difference between Wade and Riley and a perceived degrading of Wade’s long-time service to the squad, was the point of separation for an NBA marriage that will be forever remembered in the annals of basketball lore.
Wade is the guy who got Shaq his first title without Kobe. He’s also the glue that helped lift LeBron from disrespected superstar to undeniable champion. Then he went out and turned Gabrielle Union into a housewife. There’s nothing this man can’t do. However, whatever it is Wade accomplishes in the future will no longer be done as a member of the Miami Heat. Bye Bye South Beach and hello Southside.