The Dwyane Wade era in Miami is over now that he has signed a two-year $47 million deal with Chicago, and Heat president Pat Riley is really busted up over it. Though he apparently never spoke to his star player as the relationship deteriorated over the course of free agency, Riley poured his heart out to Dan Le Batard via text message last night.
"SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let's just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!"
In some ways, this is the clean way to do this, but the 14 Ds spread over two "sad"s ring a little hollow when you consider that the Heat had no problem signing Hassan Whiteside to a four-year, $98 million deal, were ready to work the finances out to sign Kevin Durant, and played hardball with the face of their franchise for 13 years. And yet, it's the right move for both sides. Wade is 35 and will never be what he was, so it doesn't make sense for Miami to invest the $50 million he wanted. They offered $40 million over two years and told him to take it or leave it. Wade, clearly feeling disrespected and underappreciated by the organization, gets nearly all the money he wanted and a team that he feels made him a priority. And he's playing in his hometown in front of friends and family.
Still, maybe if Riley had picked up the phone and texted his Braveheart speech to Wade himself at some point along the process, they could have worked something out that made sense for both parties.