Dwyane Wade rules out China move as undecided All-Star declares he only has eyes for Miami Heat if he makes NBA return
Offers reportedly on the table from two CBA teams but three-time champion considers himself a ‘lifer’ with team where he spent most of 15-year career
Dwyane Wade said during a Saturday appearance at the Jnr NBA World Championships in Orlando that he remains undecided about his playing future, but that if he does return to the court in 2018-19 it will only be with the Miami Heat.
Wade’s comments came in the wake of speculation of possibly continuing his career in the Chinese Basketball Association – his signature sneaker line is based in China – or even rejoining former Heat teammate LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Heat only. If I play the game of basketball this year, it’ll be in a Miami uniform,” he told media at the event at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. “If I don’t, I’ll be living in Miami or somewhere else probably.”
It’s such an honor for me to be called on as the first ever @jrnba global ambassador. I had an amazing time speaking to the youth, taking questions & pictures with these bright young men and women! The future of the @nba is so bright!!!#JrNBAWorldChampionship
A post shared by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on Aug 11, 2018 at 6:52pm PDT
Wade, 36, also cautioned not to read too much into the workout videos he has posted on social media.
“It becomes a lifestyle after so long,” he said. “So, for me, that’s what I’m doing. It’s that time of the year, where I’ve been for as long as I can remember. This time of the year is where you start getting into the mindset.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t think we’re at that point yet. But I’m still getting into the mindset of getting my body and my mind prepared. And whether I’m playing this year or not, I will be prepared to play. And I’ll make sure that I stay ready.”
Already operating above the NBA salary cap and into the league’s punitive luxury tax, the Heat are limited to an offer to Wade of either the US$5.3 million taxpayer mid-level exception or the US$2.3 million veteran minimum.
Heat president Pat Riley said earlier this summer that the invitation to return is open ended, as is the case with veteran forward Udonis Haslem, another 15-season veteran who also is a free agent.
“Everything else, from the business side of things and what I decide to do and what the Miami Heat decide to do is something that has yet to be seen,” Wade said. “But we’ll get there at some point and everybody will know eventually. But today as we sit here, we’re not there yet.”
Riley said two weeks ago that he anticipated a Wade decision in mid-August.
“It’s different now. It’s not where we’re sitting down now trying to figure out a $100 million contract and we got to sign it by July 8th. It’s a different situation now. So we have time.”
Wade rejoined the Heat at last season’s February trading deadline after spending 2016-17 with his hometown Chicago Bulls and then the first half of last season alongside James with the Cavaliers, after spending his first 13 NBA seasons with the Heat.
If Wade returns, it would be to a crowded backcourt that includes Dion Waiters returning from last season’s ankle surgery, as well as Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder. Wade played as a reserve during last season’s return, but often was on the court at the close of games.
“As much as I would love to be back, you got so many different things that you look at, that I have to look at,” he said.
“My teammates have been great. The young guys, you want to be there for them but, also, you want to play. So it’s a lot of different things that come into play there. But, ultimately, no matter what happens, I’m a lifer, Miami Heat for life.”