Dwyane Wade is back with the Miami Heat, and he’s genuinely happy about it. So happy, in fact, he doesn’t necessarily care about his role. He just wants to be in Miami.
Even if it means coming off the bench.
From the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds:
He raved about the player Heat guard Josh Richardson — who coach Erik Spoelstra has compared to a young Wade on more than one occasion — has become. Wade is back to both help Miami win now and win in the future by mentoring young players.
This is definitely a playoff team,” Wade said. “This is a team that a lot of teams around the NBA respect because of the way that they play the game.”
Heat President Pat Riley said that in the beginning of this reunion, Wade will likely come off the bench.
“Don’t matter,” Wade said. “I can’t wait to embrace whatever role I have.”
Wade’s sentiments aren’t the least bit surprising. He was coming off the bench with the Cleveland Cavaliers, so he’s now accustomed to small bursts of playing time. And while the Heat are a different animal, because they’re not considered a legitimate title contender, he knows that, at 36, he’s being brought in to mentor more than carry. And he doesn’t appear to have a problem with it.
We’ll have to wait and see if that holds once he has a few weeks under his belt, but the smart money is on him basking in this return. He is relieved this trade was made—not necessarily because he needed out of Cleveland, but because leaving Miami in the first place always felt weird and wrong and stupid. He never looked right or at home in a Chicago Bulls jersey. Ditto for his Cavaliers uniform. Even when they ran off 18 victories in 19 games, with him piloting an elite bench unit and earning Sixth Man of the Year buzz, something always just looked off.
As Wade said, per Reynolds, he always knew he’d end up back with the Heat. Hence why this trade, no matter the playoff implications or lack thereof, just feels right.