Riley: Heat will be patient and wait for Wade’s decision
LAS VEGAS (AP) — When it comes to Dwyane Wade, it’s clear that the Miami Heat want him back and they’re willing to be patient while he figures out his plan.
What’s unclear is this: How much they’ll have to pay.
Heat President Pat Riley said Friday that he will have talks with managing general partner Micky Arison in the coming days about Wade’s future. Realistically, there’s only two contract options for Miami to present Wade — the $5.3 million exception, or the $2.4 million veteran minimum. The potential luxury tax implications Miami could face next year would rise in either case, and that’s what the Heat are trying to avoid.
“That’s the abyss that we all deal with in the NBA,” Riley said.
Riley said Miami has had talks with Wade and his agent Leon Rose over the summer, though no real detail about those conversations has been revealed by either side.
Wade said at the end of last season that he wasn’t certain about playing for a 16th NBA season in 2018-19, and hasn’t offered anything in the way of an update since. He has been doing on-court workouts regularly in recent weeks, including a session Thursday in Las Vegas with LeBron James, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a decision about playing or not.
“I think it’s best that we give him some more time,” Riley said.
Wade left Miami for Chicago in 2016, spent one season with the Bulls, began last season in Cleveland and then was traded back to the Heat in February. Wade appeared in 26 regular season and playoff games with Miami after the trade, all off the bench, averaging 12.9 points.
For his career, the future Hall of Famer is averaging 22.5 points and he leads the Heat all-time lists in several statistical categories.
“I want him back as a player,” Riley said. “I want him back as a competitor. I want him back as a guy who wants to have the greatest year he ever had as a player. I read more articles about ‘Dwyane being done, he’s lost a step, he’s not the same player, he might not have the same motivation.’ But I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to.”
The same wait-and-see approach is being utilized with fellow Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, who also is weighing whether to return for a 16th season.
Haslem has spent his entire career in Miami, and he and Wade are the only Heat players to be part of all three of the franchise’s championship seasons.
“Both players are being respected to the utmost because of their history with us,” Riley said. “I’m sure they’re sitting down thinking about what they want to do and how it’s going to impact the rest of their lives. I do believe, and I hope, that by the middle of August that we’ll probably have a decision on both players.”
In other matters Riley covered in a teleconference with reporters:
— Riley insisted that the Heat were not widely shopping center Hassan Whiteside in trades this summer, though he said Whiteside “has a lot of work to do.” Whiteside has often expressed unhappiness with his role in Miami, and he and coach Erik Spoelstra have met this summer to try to find common ground. “Stuff happens. Things are said. Players are frustrated. ... This isn’t anything new,” Riley said. Whiteside will be part of the NBA Africa Game next week in South Africa, accompanied by Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard.
— The Heat will have talks with Justise Winslow’s representation next month about an extension. “We look as Justise as an anchor, as one of our anchor pieces,” Riley said.
— Riley said Dion Waiters (ankle surgery) is “ramping up” his rehabilitation. Waiters missed most of last season.