Today is April 4th. You wake up in Chicago and step outside. It’s 46 degrees!? You think to yourself, isn’t it almost Spring? You check your iPhone weather app and notice it’s going to reach a high of 85 degrees in Miami today. You begin to daydream about a home on the intracoastal of Miami Beach. Laying outside at your pool staring at the downtown Miami skyline. You snap back to reality. Another cold day in the windy city, you are injured, and have no job to report to until October. Welcome to the world of Dwyane Wade.
Take a look at the NBA standings today. The Chicago Bulls are (38-39) and the Miami Heat are (37-40). These teams currently sit in the 7th and 8th slots for the NBA Playoffs. It’s fair and logical to say these teams are pretty equal. This begs the question – was it really worth it for Dwyane Wade?
Last summer’s number one rated show in South Florida was Family Feud, staring Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley. Top Five Answers on the Board, “name something that gets in the way of business negotiations:” Survey says: pride and ego. Wade has been the face of this franchise for over a decade. He took less money to give Riley the flexibility to keep LeBron James. That backfired. By the way, the Heat never land LeBron James if it were not for the friendship Wade developed with him dating back to 2003 when they both entered the NBA Draft. Riley called Dwyane’s bluff, believing he would never leave ‘Wade County’ for ice cold winters in his hometown of Chicago.
We now know what happened after that. Aren’t you curious to know how Wade feels about his decision to leave today? The Bulls aren’t inherently any better than the Heat. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be sidelined for two months, I’d rather be recovering poolside on Miami Beach. Wade’s decision wasn’t business or professional, it was personal. Clearly he didn’t leave Miami for Chicago thinking he was inching closer to another NBA Finals run. I can’t imagine Wade actually wanted to uproot his kids, who essentially grew up in Miami, made friends at the schools down there, to start over in Chicago. Wade left to prove Riley wrong.
I also wonder how Riley feels today about how he handled the negotiations. Arrogance is a powerful drug. Riley was willing to let Wade walk because he thought there was no way Kevin Durant visits his organization and turns them down. Little did Riley know, Durant wants things to be easier, not harder. Golden State is easy. Hassan Whiteside is hard. Most of Miami’s success this year can be credited to Coach Spoelstra, who has arguably done his best coaching job ever. Yet, he and Riley must both be thinking ‘what if?’ What if Wade were still part of this team? Would they be a 4 seed? 5 seed?
Two men reflecting on life’s decisions. If they could have a do-over, would either of them handle things differently? Perhaps. For now, Riley is laser focused on a playoff push with his current roster, and tomorrow Dwyane Wade will wake up to another frigid Chicago morning, open up his weather app, and daydream about the heat in Miami…
Written by Andrew Rosenberg