CLEVELAND – Dwyane Wade’s assessment of the final year of the Big Three in Miami does not quite match up with Ray Allen’s.
While Allen said the Heat “never adjusted” to having an old team and complained about appearances and practices, Wade looked at that 2013-14 season a different way.
“I feel like they got the best out of me,” Wade told South Florida reporters Tuesday before he faced the Heat for the first time as a member of the Cavaliers.
“You play this game to get the best out of yourself. That’s what I felt. My 13 years in Miami I leave satisfied what I accomplished, what my team accomplished, what my teammates accomplished. So, if you worked hard to do that, if you worked too hard to do that I’m fine with it because we had to deal with success.”
Wade said Allen was treated differently when he played for coach Doc Rivers in Boston.
“Miami is Miami. They do it the way Miami does it,” he said. “Obviously, Ray came from Boston and Doc did things a little differently for him and (Kevin Garnett) and those guys. Miami is done the way that it’s done. At the end of the day no matter what happened those years we went to four Finals in a row and we won two championships, one with Ray. That’s just a part of coaching in Miami.”
Wade, 35, teamed with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to win two championships in Miami. Allen was part of the second. Two summers ago, after 13 years with the Heat, Wade signed with Chicago. Wade and the Bulls reached a deal on a buyout after one season and Wade reunited with James in Cleveland this season, his third team in three years.
“It’s been a little difficult at times, probably just learning the systems,” Wade said. “Different roles from obviously Miami, being a number-one option on a lot of nights, number two when Chris was playing sometimes. In Chicago varying. And here, coming off the bench. So a lot of different things. But many different challenges in the last few years. But, overall, it’s just a part of the body of work of my career, so it’s been good.”
Wade was asked how different these last few years have been from what he envisioned.
“It’s different,” he said. “Obviously, you don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day. This career path we all chose in the NBA, you just don’t know what’s going to happen with it. For me, I’m OK and I’m content with what I’ve done for 13 years. Did I think it was gonna shake out this way? No. But I’m not sitting here crying about it neither. I understand that’s how things go.
“I made the decisions so it’s fine. I look back on my 13 years and said, ‘man, we did some special, special things.’ It’s an amazing chapter in my life and a big part of what I’ve become and who I am. I don’t look back at nothing but the good times. I don’t look back at the bad ones.”
Wade said he’s comfortable finishing his career going year-to-year.
“That’s the way I approach it even if I’m on a contract for two years, that’s how I approached it,” he said. “As me and Udonis (Haslem) both talked about for many years and I think we got it from Ray Allen about knowing that time is going to come for you. Don’t have a perceived notion that I’m retiring at this age, I’m retiring at this year. Play the game year after year see how you feel and see what you want to do the following year.”