We check in on Dwyane Wade’s offseason so far:
He approves of the Knicks’ hiring of David Fizdale. …
… And the Hawks’ hiring of Lloyd Pierce.
He’s mystified by the Raptors’ firing of Dwane Casey.
He surprised Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. during Shaw’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
He attended his first movie premier.
He became a big fan of Donovan Mitchell’s.
He was named a finalist for the NBA’s season-long community assist award.
He’s become a spokesperson for the Jr. NBA.
He trolled Ersan Ilyasova on twitter after Ilyasova took a shot at Heat fans.
He’s watched in amazement as LeBron James carries the Cavaliers deep into the playoffs.
He’s spending time working out with his son and American Heritage rising junior, Zaire.
And that’s just the start.
But the big event of Wade’s offseason has yet to come.
That will be the day Wade decides if he is going to return for a 16th season or call it a (Hall of Fame) career and enter the next stage of his life.
Wade probably has heard from all his teammates by now and coach Erik Spoelstra is hoping to address the situation over lunch in the near future. But this is a decision that probably will not come for at least another six weeks and could linger deep into the summer.
Wade did not speak to the media the day the Heat players met for their exit interviews. But that was because three nights earlier, following the Heat’s Game 5 loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs that ended their season, he acknowledged he’s thought about retirement but added “we’ll worry about that later.”
But some of Wade’s teammates had the subject on their minds that week.
“I’ll definitely shoot him a message,” Kelly Olynyk said the day the of the team’s exit interviews. “I told him I wished he was here from the beginning. We could have really built that chemistry and grown with him. It was great to have him after the All-Star Break. It would have been great to have him the full year. Hopefully, he comes back for us, but for himself. I know how much he loves this game.”
Olynyk never played with Wade until the Heat re-acquired the franchise’s greatest player in a deal with Cleveland on Feb. 8.
Wade, 36, played 21 regular season games with the Heat, averaging 12.0 points. He averaged 16.5 points in five postseason games, second on the team to Goran Dragic.
“It was awesome, a great story,” Josh Richardson said. “I remember when he left, it was like yesterday. To have him back was awesome.”
Dragic did not hesitate when asked if he believes Wade could help the Heat next season.
“I think he still has a lot left in his tank,” he said. “I’m hoping to see him next year to have some big moments on the court. Hopefully he’s going to stay.”
Wayne Ellington said he learned a lot just by being around Wade for more than 10 weeks.
“Just the mentality of a champion,” Ellington said. “The mentality of a future Hall of Famer. That’s priceless to be around. Being able to watch the way he approaches the game, watch the way he attacks, watch the way he treats his body, his mindset. All of those things you pay attention to because that’s what it’s about, getting to that level. You want to be at that level, you want to be a champion so that was awesome being able to spend that time with him, especially in Wade County here. It was definitely a pleasure.”
So the Heat await. How tense is the organization? President Pat Riley said he didn’t want to take about retirement the day the Heat met for the final time this season because. … “when you start talking to a player about retirement, guess what? He retires.” Spoelstra said he was not “emotionally ready to go there” that day. Spoelstra didn’t even want to make eye contact with Wade. “I don’t want to ready anything in his eyes.”
Even Wade’s closest friend on the team, Udonis Haslem, said the two have not had the discussion. Haslem, who turns 38 in a month, has his own decision to make and some believe they may want to retire as a package deal, whether that is this summer or a year from now.
“We talked about playing golf,” Haslem said. “That’s a step toward retirement. But we really haven’t talked about it.
“We haven’t had time to have that conversation. He was focused on coming back, fitting in and trying to get us through the first round. You don’t really want to talk about retirement when you’re in the midst of the season.”