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Cavs front office gave Dwyane Wade the ultimate call on imminent return to Miami

Dwyane Wade

In the midst of a hectic NBA trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers had planned to undergo a major overhaul, posing general manager Koby Altman with some tough choices to make.

With the likes of George Hill and Rodney Hood already in his sights, Altman went name-by-name through the alphabetic roster of players that Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg would be interested in acquiring three to four weeks prior to the deadline.

Among them was Dwyane Wade, described as “Yeah, and you have a two-guard that we have a little bit of history with,” according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Come crunch time, the Heat came calling for Wade, and Altman had two people to reach out to before giving this deal the green light — first to franchise player LeBron James, and then to Wade; giving him the last say on his future.

Wade was posed with either taking a more limited role to let the new trade pieces shine, or to go back to the place he planned to return before calling it a career.

The choice was easy for Wade, who’d be returning to South Beach only a season-and-a-half after first departing over contract disputes with president Pat Riley, who was ecstatic to get him back, when first informed of the possibility.

“Spo told the story — Pat called him in the office because we were getting ready for practice, and said, ‘OK, we have this deal done and we have this other thing we’re working on and we can always get Dwyane back,'” Elisburg said, referring to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “He said, ‘Dwyane who?’ Because he hadn’t been involved in that earlier discussion. I just told Pat about it. So he wasn’t thinking about it. It was like: ‘D.’ ‘What?!’ ‘Yeah!’ ‘OK, let’s get him back. Yeah, I know what he can do.'”

Elisburg traded a future second-round pick for Wade, which has played a part in revitalizing a group that needed an extra spark, as well as giving the American Airlines Arena plenty of reasons to fill the seats.

“It’s been great, but it’s been great the whole time we were together,” Elisburg said. “It was an incredible, magical time having Dwyane be a part of the Miami Heat. He’s been such a huge part of the history here. He’s the greatest player in the history of the franchise. Obviously, we’ve had lots of incredible players here who have had incredible seasons, including, obviously, LeBron, who won MVPs here. And Shaq [O’Neal]. And Zo [Alonzo Mourning].”

“But if you look at the body of work over the period of time which Dwyane stuck with the franchise, I mean, it’s unquestioned he’s the greatest player in the history of the franchise. You’re just talking about just a special person and player. So, like all things when you’re together, you appreciate things and maybe you didn’t realize things until you see them more, and I think we both appreciate each other and the fact that we’re back together again.”

Wade is averaging 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists through his 14 games since returning to the Heat.