Dwyane Wade is getting his chance to retire with the Miami Heat sooner than he expected.
The Heat officially announced that Wade is returning to the Heat after Miami traded it’s 2024 second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, with heavy protections added onto the pick. That means the Cavaliers will likely never gain the pick from the Heat, meaning the Cavaliers basically gave Wade back to Miami for essentially nothing:
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have acquired guard Dwyane Wade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a protected 2024 second-round draft pick.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 8, 2018
It is unclear what role Wade will serve in for the Heat, but team president Pat Riley indicated that Wade will at least come off the bench at first for the Heat, but ultimately left the role play decision process up to head coach Erik Spoelstra. Wade arrived in Miami on Thursday evening with the intentions of playing in tomorrow’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Previous reports indicated that Wade wouldn’t play for the Heat until Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, but it was important for Wade to get to Miami as soon as he could, especially considering the Heat don’t play another home game after tomorrow until February 24:
BREAKING: Dwyane Wade tells The Associated Press that he intends to play Friday in Miami. He doesn't want to make the fans wait any longer. "I've missed them and I know they've missed me," he said moments ago.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 8, 2018
Wade also provided the following message to Heat fans in a video posted by the Heat that showed Wade leaving a plane after landing in Miami:
“Heat Nation, I haven’t said that in a long time. It feels so good,” Wade said. “Heat Nation, I’m excited to see you guys. I hope you guys are excited to see me. I can’t wait to get back on the court. I can’t wait to put on that No. 3 in that Miami Heat jersey. I’ll see you guys soon.”
Miami owes some thanks to one of their former players that help Wade get back to Miami in LeBron James. According to a report by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman consulted with James before making the decision to trade Wade back to Miami. Altman told James that the decision was up to Wade, and James considered that to be fair. James even made the following Instagram post regarding the trade:
With a season-ending injury to shooting guard Dion Waiters, and sharpshooter Wayne Ellington battling a shoulder injury, the addition of Wade couldn’t have come at a better time to help address the Heat’s depth at shooting guard. Before they traded for Wade today, the Heat also reunited with forward Luke Babbitt, by acquiring him via trade with the Atlanta Hawks in-exchange for forward Okaro White, which could indicate that the Heat believes forward/center Kelly Olynyk will miss extended time with a shoulder injury of his own.
The Heat’s best starting lineup right now might currently be Goran Dragic, Wade, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and Hassan Whiteside. It’s also possible that Babbitt could start at power forward for the Heat to help solve potential spacing issues, but he likely wouldn’t start right off the bat. There could also be some risk added with starting Wade again, as Wade played poorly in his brief time starting for Cleveland. However, he thrived in a bench role for the Cavaliers, and was essential part of the 2nd unit when things were clicking for Cleveland.
Regardless, everyone in the city of Miami and everyone who works for the Heat organzation is pumped to have Wade back in his house, and you can blame them? You can only imagine at this point the reception Wade will receive from the Miami faithful tomorrow night.
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