How much playing time would Dwyane Wade demand if he returns to Heat?

Associated Press

Dwyane Wade is working out — and, as become the NBA tradition, posting video of said workouts — in a way that makes you think he’s coming back for one more season in Miami. The man is playing a lot of basketball for someone who is might walk away from the game.

Yet, he has not officially made a decision about whether to return to the Heat or retire.

His role with the team is a part of that — he wants to start, reports Greg Cote of the Miami Herald.

I am also told by representatives of the club and of the player that Wade being comfortable with his role is critical. He returned last midseason in a bench role, a reserve in all 21 games. He also came off the bench in all five playoffs games….

I have not been told Wade would demand to start. But does he see himself good for more than 25 minutes a game? He mentioned recently that he embraces a mentor’s role for the club’s many young guys still developing, “but you also want to play,” he added. 

Wade came off the bench in Cleveland last season as well, starting just three of the 46 games he played there until he came to Miami. He averaged 22.2 minutes per night for the Heat.

Wade’s body — meaning, his knees — are not going to take much more than that. He’s going to be rested at least 10 games and not play heavy minutes often, at least during the regular season (he jumped to 25.4 minutes per game in the playoffs, and had a dominant Game 4 against the Sixers that kept the Heat’s season alive one more game).

That said, if he wants to start, he should start. If he wants to play, he should play. He has earned that right with the Heat, he is the greatest player in franchise history and the key to those banners hanging in AmericanAirlines Arena. Fans will fill the arena — home and road, because there will be tributes in other cities — to see Wade one last time. He is arguably the greatest shooting guard the game has ever seen, and a player respected and loved outside of South Florida. Him starting would fit with that.

I don’t know how much of this is what’s holding Wade back from a formal announcement. He may just like the drama of all this. The Heat will be fine either way, they can wait up to training camp starting to know.

But it would be fun to see Wade lace them up for one more season, whether he starts or comes off the bench.