After soul searching, Dwyane Wade decides to remain with the Miami Heat

By Tim Reynolds


MIAMI _ After 12 years with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade needed a reminder of how much the franchise valued him.

Once he found out, any chance of him leaving vanished.

Wade accepted a $20 million, one-year deal on Thursday to stay with the Heat next season, ending his latest foray into free agency, and wrapping up a weeks-long saga that had him seriously wondering about leaving for the first time.

A pair of conversations, first with Heat CEO Nick Arison and then another with managing general partner Micky Arison, reminded Wade of what he meant to the team, and from there it was a matter of just making numbers work.

“Sitting down with Nick, sitting down with Micky, and having conversations with them that I’ve never had, that was big for me,” Wade told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I’ve never had a business conversation with one of them. … They got to show me how much they really wanted me to be here, how important it was for them that I continue to wear one jersey.”

Without those conversations, Wade said, “I don’t think we would be at this point.”

Per NBA rules, the Heat could not comment other than saying that they intend to enter into a contract with Wade once the NBA moratorium period ends. Wade cannot sign his new deal until next Thursday.

“A one-year deal for $20 million, I could never look at that and roll my eyes,” Wade said. “I am from Robbins, Illinois. Look at what I’ve been through in my life.”

He could have made $16.1 million this season on the second year of a two-year deal, but opted out with hopes of getting a longer-term, more-lucrative contract.

Wade considered other teams _ the Los Angeles Lakers, in particular _ but the lure of staying home was ultimately too strong for the 33-year-old shooting guard.

The 11-time All-Star averaged 21.5 points this past season, third-best among Eastern Conference players, and believes he remains one of the game’s top threats when healthy.

Goran Dragic committed to a five-year deal on Wednesday. With Wade back, the Heat free agents have decided their futures, and Miami will look to add pieces.

The 37-45 season this past year, one where Wade missed 20 games and Chris Bosh missed half the season because of a blood clot on his lung, is only going to go down as an aberration, the Heat hope.

“We’re going to be better. I know that,” Wade said. “Knock on wood, you stay healthy, I think we’re a good team. I like our chances.”

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