By Tim Reynolds
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI _ Dwyane Wade is thinking about retirement.
No, it’s not imminent.
That being said, there is a target date that the Miami Heat guard and three-time NBA champion has in mind. It’s a closely guarded secret that he said he’s only sharing for now with his wife, Gabrielle Union. The way he’s talking, next season won’t be his last.
But at 33, the next chapter isn’t far away for Wade, either. So the only upside to missing the playoffs _ for only the second time in 12 years _ is he gets to spend the next five months thinking about what comes next, on the court and off.
“I don’t sit on my hands,” Wade said in an end-of-season interview with The Associated Press. “Obviously, everything’s about life after (basketball) and seeing what you want to do as well. So this is a perfect time to figure it out.”
Technically, not everything right now is about life after the game.
Wade has the option of becoming a free agent again this summer; the expectation is that he will forgo a deal worth about $16 million for next season and work on a longer-term deal with the Heat. But no decision has to be made until late June, and Wade _ who averaged 21.5 points on 47 per cent shooting this season _ is in no rush.
“I signed my deal the way I did for a reason … and the organization did it for a reason,” Wade said. “It’s my option. I’ll decide when the time is right. Everyone knows I always try to do what’s best for the organization, but I also have to do what’s best for Dwyane Wade as well.”
He was 11th in the NBA in scoring this season, third in the Eastern Conference. Among guards, only two others scored as much and shot as well as Wade did this season. And the only guards in the last 40 years to average 21.5 points at Wade’s age or better is an elite list _ Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton.
Yet Wade, who missed 20 games this season, only seems to hear about his decline.
It clearly bothers him.
“The narrative that people like to talk about with me is about injuries all the time,” Wade said. “My thing is, especially as I get older, you get tired of it. Talk about what I do on the court. This year, a story that was untold and that I took pride in was looking at other players at 33, what did they do and how did they do it.
“Individually, what I was able to do in 31 minutes, I thought I was efficient as I could be,” he continued. “I know I can always do better, but what I accomplished, I thought, was pretty good.”
His summer will not be idle.
Besides the contract decision, Wade will have tons of off-the-court work. He’s headed to the Met Gala next month to support fashion icon Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief. When the Council of Fashion Designers of America hand out their awards in June, Wade will be there. And when Men’s Fashion Week comes to New York in July, Wade will be front and centre.
“I wanted to get back into my fashion space a little bit,” Wade said. “I sat down with my (business) team and told them that and as soon as I did, the floodgates opened, in all good ways. I have another sock line coming out with Stance. I’ll continue to focus on my tie line with The Tie Bar. All good things.”
He has his fantasy basketball camp in Miami, a camp for kids in Chicago, a two-week trip to China to promote his Li-Ning shoes and plenty of family time in Miami, Los Angeles and elsewhere. And Wade said he expects to pick up some more projects along the way, occupying his time until getting back into basketball mode and prepping for October’s training camp.
“Everyone’s like, ‘You’ve got five months off, what are you going to do?”’ Wade said. “There’s a lot going on in a good way. I’ve had great relationships and for whatever reason, people haven’t turned on me yet _ the ones that matter, anyway.”