Now that Dwyane Wade has officially left Miami after 13 brilliant seasons, you have to wonder: Did Pat Riley want this to happen all along? After all, he didn’t make re-signing Wade his No. 1 priority this offseason, he reportedly didn’t even call Wade during free agency and he wasn’t willing to match the Chicago’s two-year, $47.5-million offer.
So did Riley want Wade gone?
Jason Jackson says no. Hell no.
“That’s a guarantee,” the NBA Radio host and Miami Heat sideline reporter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I’ll lay that down without issue. We’ll put that in some cement and let that harden up. Absolutely. The Heat love (Wade) even to this day. The love and adoration and appreciate for Dwyane Wade will never change, has not changed, and throughout the process didn’t change. There was no desire to let him go. I’m starting to read all the capologists and the brainiacs and the analytic (people) all trying to note how this may be awesome for 2017. It’s not awesome now.”
But are we sure about Riley? Wade averaged 19.0 points per game last season, but he also turns 35 in January and the Heat weren’t going to contend for a championship next season anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to let Wade walk and build for the future than to overpay for a player who, while a franchise icon, is past his prime?
Jackson, again, says no.
“It’s absurd,” he said. “And I feel strongly about that – not simply because of where I work and what I do, but because of what I know.”
But sports is a business, and loyalty only goes so far. If Riley did, in fact, want Wade gone, Heat fans can’t be too upset about it. It might hurt this year, but it sets them up well in the years to come, no?
“I think that’s a fair assessment – if it was exactly how the man felt,” Jackson said of Riley. “If he felt that way and if that’s the way he was approaching this, I think he (would have approached) it with two avenues: ‘There is a limit to this, and we want you back. So here’s what we want to do, and if we work within this, then we got something.’ So I think when you’re dealing with this convergence of two very important things, it make nobody a bad guy. Every time one of these things happens, everybody’s looking for somebody to blame – and I don’t think there’s a blame issue here. Dwyane’s got a childhood and dream and more money. So put those two things together, he’s a Chicago Bull. You have the Miami Heat saying, ‘We do want you, we do love you, we do respect you. Here’s how much we have.’ There was obviously a chasm between (the two sides).”