Dwyane Wade is back.
That’s a sentence I never really thought I’d write. After everything that went down, and even after Wade’s comments about retiring with the Heat, I always thought it would be a Paul Pierce type situation. But no, it’s official and all of us at Hot Hot Hoops are pumped.
As reported by The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Heat president, Pat Riley spoke at length about the Wade acquisition and their relationship. His quotes are below.
On why he pursued Dwyane:
“Once Dion went down, we felt a real need to do something at that spot with a front-line player. The cost of a front-line player was too expensive for us... in terms of them asking us for our young players who we don’t want to trade. I would think Dwyane would come off the bench to start. Josh [Richardson] will be [at small forward].
“There are two things he can still do from an offensive standpoint — he can get to the rim, he can make plays and he can make shots. He has an uncanny ability to do that when the pressure’s on him. He still has a lot left in the tank. He’s the perfect fit for our team. Tyler Johnson has done a great job. Hasn’t been the same since his ankle injury. Putting him in a starting role has been a lot for him. We will get back to somewhat of a normalcy if in fact that changes.
On what he thinks he’s capable of:
“All of us have to realize he’s not the Dwyane Wade of 2006 against Dallas but he’s a facsimile of that. The fact that he decided to come off the bench in Cleveland limited his opportunities to do certain things he’s always been capable of doing. I would imagine he would morph right into the role of being a frontline scorer for us. He can still play. A defender on the ball in need situations. He’s the 12th best two-way guard in the league [in Heat rankings]. In the contemporary plus-minus analytics, he’s 15th/16th. Getting to the rim, getting to the free throw line. There’s something about Dwyane at the end of games I think is unique and special. I don’t think you lose that.”
On losing him in 2016:
“For all of you who know me, warriors don’t live in the past. Life is now. And the future is waiting. Based on what happened with Dwyane and us the last couple of years, there’s no bitterness and no regrets. We’ve always talked about that. Micky [Arison] is very pro Dwyane. Coach [Erik Spoelstra] is very pro Dwyane. I am. It was a sad day when Dwyane left and it’s a beautiful day that he’s back.
On his conditioning:
“I’m sure he’s got his work cut out for him. From his last two spots, he might not be in Miami Heat conditioning. But we have enough time to get him up to speed on that. I’m glad we could get him. It’s about now, it’s about today, it’s about tomorrow. It’s about competing for a favorable playoff spot or even just to get in the playoffs. I couldn’t think of a better player to be in here without having to give up a lot of assets or young assets. To get Dwyane back, it was a very good trade.”
“I talked to Dwyane via text and my own raspy voice and I said to them you just ate your late meal of pancakes with syrup and strawberries and whipped cream. We’re back to [vegetables].”
On the trade deadline as a whole:
“We have passed another trade deadline. Forty seven years for me. This is one of the very best for me personally and also in terms of the organization. Just so happy we were able to complete a trade that I truly think is going to help us tremendously and from a competitive standpoint now, to win. Having Dwyane back in the fold, and in Miami, is a great day for the Heat. To add Luke Babbitt to the equation gives us a great shot of trying to accomplish what we want to do. Luke Babbitt, we all know and are very familiar with his ability to be able to shoot the basketball.”