It seemed Wade was destined to be a Heat ‘lifer’, sticking around after seeing his ‘Big 3’ teammate, LeBron James, return home to Cleveland. Instead, the 35-year-old shocked the NBA community with news he’d be following James’ lead, and joining his own hometown team, the Chicago Bulls.
Wade spoke to Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj, revealing the real reason behind him leaving the team that had drafted him in 2003’s super-draft.
“I did feel at the end of the day it’s Micky Arison’s team but it’s Pat’s show,” Wade said. “I love Pat and I know he loves me. The fact that we didn’t talk, that hurt. That was my deciding factor when it came down to the end of the day and he didn’t show he wanted me there. I know the Arison family loved me and wanted me there. I know Spo (coach Erik Spoelstra) wanted me there.
“At the end of the day, I didn’t hear from the guy I needed to. I expressed this to him later. That right there hurt me. It showed me … it was time to remove myself from the situation. … It’s a business. But I’m human as well. I was waiting for him to step up and meet me, call me, do something, and it just never happened.
“That’s not the Pat I know. You can find me quicker than anybody. You want to be wanted. Everyone wants to be wanted. I didn’t feel like I was wanted from the person I wanted to be wanted from. … I was waiting for him to step up and meet me somewhere. Call me. Do something. It just never happened. That’s not Pat. That’s not the Pat I know.”
Wade logged 855 games for the Miami Heat, a franchise record, but saw max contract negotiations progress further with teammates, Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic. Although Wade was never said to have issues with either teammate, it played a major part in his eventual departure.
“All these players deserved the money they got,” Wade said. “My (gripe) is not with any of them. I love all of those guys. I’m sitting over here with my hands (open). Everyone is talking the future, the future. My future is running out. I’m still a good player in this league. I’m not asking for something I don’t think I deserve … Did my feelings get hurt some? Yes. At the end of the day, you have to make the best decision for you.”
13 seasons. 3 NBA World Championships. Five Eastern Conference Championships. All-time franchise leader in points, assists, minutes, field-goals made, free throws, and steals. That’s the greatness of the Dwyane Wade era in Miami, all to be felt left out in his dying days in the NBA.