San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich admits he will miss Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade when the veteran guard retires from the NBA after this season. Wade re-signed with the Heat on a one-year deal worth $2.4 million after contemplating retirement.
Popovich worked with Wade as an assistant coach with the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team. The Heat and Spurs faced each other in back-to-back Finals in 2013 and 2014, and Popovich has been the victim of some of Wade’s best performances of his storied career.
“Absolutely,” Popovich said if he’ll miss Wade, via The Sun-Sentinel. “Sad’s not a bad word. You miss those kind of guys. They don’t have to be on your team. “Watching him over the years, it’s just a wonderful experience to be able to be there. And we have front-row seats to watch these guys. Sure, a little piece goes away. And it sort of reminds you that you’re going to take a little hike soon, also. Nobody stays forever.”
Wade averaged 12.0 points in 21 regular season games with the Heat last season. He began the year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but was traded to Miami at the 2018 February trade deadline. The Chicago native averaged 16.6 points and 3.6 assists per game during the 2018 postseason, shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc. Wade, now 36, turned back the clock a few times during the Heat’s first-round playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 28 points in the Game 2 win and 25 in the Game 4 loss.
Dwyane Wade will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is the Heat’s career leader in points, assists, steals, and games played. The fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft, Wade has won three championships and was the 2006 Finals MVP.