He wanted to stay in Miami, but after feeling insulted by their contract offers he wanted to stick it to Pat Riley and Chicago was the best way to do it.
“There’s going to be a lot of stuff that’s said about me and Pat,” said Wade, speaking Saturday at his Youth Skills Camp at Jose Marti Gym in Miami. “First and foremost, I love Pat Riley. He’s been someone who has been a figurehead in my life since I got drafted here at 21. But at the same time, he has a job to do. He has a different hat to wear. That hat sometimes is not to be my best friend. That hat is to be the president of the organization, and to be a businessman. And it sucks….
“Because you love somebody so well, you guys love each other, but the business side comes out,” Wade said. “You know? And we have to deal with that. I’m not saying we’ve hugged and cried and shared tears at this moment. But I love Pat and I will always love Pat. And I know he feels the same way about me….
“To go home and play with Chicago is something I’ve always dreamed of since I’ve been a little bitty kid,” Wade said. “It’s cool to be able to make those kind of choices. You see [Kevin Durant] make a choice for me. We’ve seen LeBron (James) make choices for himself. You get killed for it but at the end of the day, if you love the guy, the individual, then you’re happy that they’re able to make that choice and that they seem happy with the choice that they are making.”
Riley was not going to give Wade the “Thank you Kobe Bryant” contract the Lakers gave their star, which hamstrung their efforts to recruit free agents for a couple of years. Riley made the right business decision, the Heat are in a better spot going forward than the Bulls (and the Heat are better right now, if Chris Bosh plays).
When Wade goes into the Hall of Fame, we are going to think of him as a member of the Heat. The same way we picture Karl Malone as a member of the Jazz, Hakeem Olajuwon as a member of the Rockets, Patrick Ewing as a member of the Knicks — all of whom ended their career with other teams, along with many other stars. Wade is the most important player in Heat franchise history.
But he needs to buy some heavy coats and gloves to be ready for the next couple of seasons.