Dwyane Wade said a lot in that Chicago Bulls press conference. Information was hard to swallow when the surreal image of another uniform is draped over an icon that was YOUR franchise player a few months ago. At times it felt LeBron James-like with all the "home references." He said the right things too, like how it was Jimmy Butler's team, and how he would fit in the Bulls system. He looked into the past and took no shots at Pat Riley, citing "difference in direction" (hint: 2017 Free Agency, Hi Russell!)
I sat in front of my laptop watching that live stream. I didn't watch to reflect or cry about what was. I paid attention to every word he said and immediately noticed what he didn't say:
Where he would end his career.
Now I know I sound like a homer that is desperately clinging on to the idea bringing D Wade back again, but I watched the presser and waited for him to confirm that he would end his career in Chicago. Just once. He said he wanted to play in Chicago all his life, and even mentioned specific opportunities where he could have. But not once did he mention the end was going to be in The Windy City.
The math is simple. Earlier in the month when Wade was talking to the media in China, he mentioned that if healthy, he has 2-3 elite years left. His contract with the Bulls has a player option after the 1st year. Let's say he opts in that second year and plays his full two year contract. He gets the money Miami wasn't willing to pay him. Where do you think he will go after that for year #3? Where will it make it the most sense? Especially if Miami lands a free agent like Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin? I give Dwyane two Chicago winters before he comes home to one last summer in Miami.
There's three types of NBA players. There are the rare ones that stay with one franchise. Kobe. Dirk. Duncan. There are the ones that spend most of their career playing for one franchise and transitioning to another. Ewing in Orlando. Olajuwon in Toronto. Shaq post-Lakers. Then there's what most NBA players are today. Players that play for a handful of franchises throughout their career because they were needed for specific roles.
I believe D Wade will have two productive seasons in Chicago. But that doesn't mean Chicago will have two productive seasons. That's when the local papers will label him the old man out. Compare that to the possible four times Wade will visit Miami and be showered with love. The emotional attachment to our city will be one major reason I believe why D Wade will return again.
Doc Rivers said the other day that if Paul Pierce decided to retire, he would make sure Pierce retires as a Celtic. Why? Because it feels right. The same way Kevin Garnett wanted to finish his career in Minnesota though he won in Boston. Even Alonzo Mourning, a Miami Heat legend, left for New Jersey for a few seasons before coming back, winning a championship and retiring with the franchise he identified with most.
When Christmas comes, we all know one of the games will be Chicago visiting Miami, and this city will be reigning MVP chants on a visiting player that deserves every single cheer. But I don't think for a second that Dwyane will be finishing his career at his hometown, when he made our city home.
D Wade said quite a bit in that homecoming presser. But the words he didn't say..spoke the loudest to me.