Dwyane Wade Returns Home to Chicago; Parts Ways With the Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade said goodbye to the Miami Heat yesterday and this time he meant it. He has threatened to do this before, but this time was the last time, meaning the break-up is official and has reached social media status. Chicago is currently having mixed feelings as Dwyane Wade returns home.

Let’s not kid ourselves, it has been an incredible run. Dwyane brought Miami a ton of fun from Shaquille O’Neal, to Chris Bosh and The King. There are rings held, trophies adorned and banners hung. However, it got a little salty. All relationships can get that way, some just temporarily. This time, even the smooth-talking Pat Riley couldn’t fix it.

Without going into Dwyane’s stats, he was good for Miami. He is good for the NBA. Everybody loves a winner, a tough guy, a hero, a smooth assassin. He did all of that for Miami and is still doing it for the NBA; a sexy secret agent capable of tearing a whole in the ratings, blowing the top of the Saturday night game against the 76ers — simply because he’s there. He’s famous and it’s for a reason: He’s an incredible athlete and a Hall-of-Fame basketball player.

But why leave now? He had to be cozy in South Florida. He’s got to know where all the good restaurants are, where all the good barbers are, where to get a good drink, where to get the best pizza, etc. I know he’s made a ton of friends, gobs of fans and most likely gotten comfortable with Miami’s top business owners, entrepreneurs, millionaires, movies stars, and the elite. After 13 years he just packs up and leaves?

“It’s still surreal. I’m still numb. I lost probably five to ten pounds just not being able to eat.” said Wade to Kelly Ripa.

Ok. We understand. But do we?


The Art of the Breakup

I can’t imagine there being a complex algorithm that was put together to make this move. It wasn’t about money or else he would be wearing a Nuggets jersey. It wasn’t about winning his first ring because he’s got a fist full of them.  But maybe it was just about the city of Chicago.

His first wife was from just outside Chicago and they were married there. Dwayne was born in Chicago, maybe he just wanted to go home like his best friend LeBron? Don’t they say, “Roam if you must, but come home when you’ve seen enough?” Possibly, it was just about moving someplace different, someplace colder, maybe he likes to pay a lot of taxes– or maybe he needed to live near the best deep dish pizza. Maybe it was just about pizza.

Dwyane Wade Returns Home

Dwyane Wade Returns Home

It couldn’t have been so complex that no one can understand where he’s coming from. He’s 34 years old, already done it all, already seen it all and ready to go home. But one can certainly speculate that it could just be jealousy. Or anger. Rash decisions are made in anger all over the world.

He could just be angry that the Heat put their future in an unproven big man. As Dwyane ages, he needs to be surrounded with the world’s best players. I’m not sure Mr. Wade saw that player in Hassan Whiteside.

Whiteside is a capable player. He stands at seven feet tall and at 265 pounds. That’s a pretty big guy to clog up the center on defense. He averaged a double-double last year and almost 4 blocks per game. Those are the stats that garnered him to sign a $24.6 million per year contract.

Mr. Whiteside is currently 27 years of age. At 31, he will be worth a lot of money, but he is so far patchy at best with his play. Whiteside also has a fatal flaw that tends to allow the opposite team extra chances; he leaves his man on defense to go for the big block. Since Whiteside is the biggest guy on the floor for the Heat, this often allows the opposite team’s biggest guy a free shot at the bucket.

Hassan needs to learn that the object of defense is not a steal or a SportsCenter highlight block — it is simply getting the ball back without the other team scoring. Maybe Riley knows that Eric Spoelstra is just that guy to teach Hassan how to do that, but at 27 he may be too entrenched in his style of play to learn a new one.


Learning to Move On

Either way, South Florida is going to be a whole lot different next season. Who knows if Bosh will be back? It could be a team that is trying to rebuild, trying to get back on the wagon a bit after Wade’s departure, trying to get over their first real crush.

It’s a big break up and one that slightly overshadows the rest of the moves this offseason. Critics have pounced on Wade already and even the Chicago Tribune wasn’t very friendly upon Wade signing, since they went with the headline: “Plan A (ARP)”. Not exactly a warm welcome.

Wade has always considered himself the underdog and I’m sure he knew this wasn’t going to be much different. This Chicago team seems to be in the same boat as Miami when it comes to their legitimacy in contending for a title.

Maybe this will drive Wade to play his heart out for his hometown and maybe the fans will grow to love him just as much as South Florida. Or maybe this will all be a funny footnote at the end of his career that we will barely remember, like Jordan in a Wizards jersey.

(Dwyane Wade Returns Home) (Dwyane Wade Returns Home)