Dwyane Wade already ‘leaned down’ three weeks after being traded to Heat, but not done yet

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (3) is seen during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 104-102. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

MIAMI — When Dwyane Wade was traded to Miami on Feb. 8, Heat president Pat Riley told the 12-time All-Star: “You just ate your last meal of pancakes with syrup and with whip cream and strawberries on top. We’re back to veggies.”

It’s been just three weeks since Wade returned to Miami, but his new diet is already making a difference as the Heat prepare to host the Lakers on Thursday.

“I’ve leaned down,” Wade said after Wednesday’s practice. “It wasn’t my weight. It was body fat more than anything. I’ve leaned down for sure and I’ll continue.”

With the Heat known for their frequent body-fat measurements and weigh-ins, Wade doesn’t have much of a choice. The 36-year-old understands the regimen after spending the first 13 seasons of his NBA career in Miami.

“He’s been working at it behind the scenes,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday of Wade. “He knows what the program is. He doesn’t have to be that guy for 38, 40 minutes a game. But he can be pretty special in those 25 minutes as you saw last night. When it’s winning time at the end, he’s still as lethal as anyone in this league.”

Wade is averaging 11.7 points on 40.8 percent shooting to go with 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 22.6 minutes in six games with the Heat this season. His career-low for minutes played per game entering the season was 29.9, which he set last year with the Bulls.

But Wade has made it known the Heat’s system asks more from him physically than the ones he was a part of in Chicago and Cleveland, saying Miami requires “more body movement for each player.” Wade ran an average of 1.6 miles in 23.2 minutes per game with the Cavaliers, compared to 1.66 miles in 22.6 minutes per game with the Heat this season.

Wade has run more than 1.7 miles in two of the Heat’s past three games, including a 1.73-mile outing in his 27-point performance in Tuesday’s win over the 76ers.

“I’m definitely taking steps in the direction,” Wade said of working his way back into “Heat shape.” “Still got a lot of work to do, but definitely been working hard. When you put the work in, even when you get tired in games you just keep pushing through because you know you put the work in. I’m not there yet.

“It was what my sixth game [Tuesday]? It’s going to take me a little while to get there. I thought I played 35 minutes last night. I looked and it was 25. But I definitely have put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get to that point and I’ll be getting better as the year goes on.”

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