Dwyane Wade is taking his talents to Lake Shore Drive. Last night, Wade dropped the latest NBA free agency bombshell, announcing that he’s leaving the Heat after 13 seasons to join his hometown Bulls on a 2 year, $47 million deal. Wade’s accumulated resentment toward Pat Riley and the Heat organization for their unwillingness to repay him for years of sacrificing salary during title runs was reportedly the driving factor in his departure.
Wade reportedly declined a 2 year contract for $40 million with the Heat in Favor of signing a $47 million contract with the Bulls. The gap between the contracts is considerably less, because a large portion of the additional $7 million will be gobbled up by onerous state and city taxes of Chicago.
Additionally, Wade’s move to the Bulls is at best a lateral one from a competitive standpoint. The Bulls only won 42 games last year, and now have an oddly configured roster that now boasts Wade and Rajon Rondo as key pieces to surround superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler. No reasonable person could conclude that the Bulls will present any threat to the Cavs in the East.
Wade released statement explaining his decision and thanking the City of Miami and the Heat organization for the 13 year run.
Dwyane Wade’s letter to the Miami Heat organization and fans. pic.twitter.com/1ItQHis5iB
— NBA Free Agency (@nbafreeagency) July 7, 2016
Pat Riley sent a text message to the Miami Herald in reaction to Wade’s announcement, which, in context, reads like written crocodile tears.
“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!”
Shockingly, Miami Herald Heat insider Ethan Skolnick is reporting that Riley never even called Wade during free agency.
While you’re watching Kelly Ripa, one more nugget: Pat Riley never called Dwyane Wade during the entire process.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 7, 2016
In the end, Riley was simply unwilling to extend the same type of massive “thanks for your service to the franchise” contract that the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant at the end of his career. Riley has seen the devastating long term damage that Kobe’s burdensome contract has had on Lakers attempts to rebuild post-Kobe. With Riley it’s always business over personal. The Wade move was good business for the Heat.