Bulls’ Wade primed for first return to Miami since leaving Heat
It promises to be an emotional night in Miami on Thursday when former Heat star Dwyane Wade returns for the first time since joining the Chicago Bulls.
Wade played in Miami for 13 seasons, helping the Heat to three NBA titles before departing as a free agent for the Bulls in a move that surprised many — including Heat president Pat Riley.
While Wade has been in touch with many of his former teammates and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, he said Wednesday he hasn’t spoken to Riley.
“I was there 13 years,” Wade said Wednesday in Atlanta, where the Heat were facing the Hawks. “I’ve seen a lot of players come and go. I know how he (Riley) is. If you’re not with him, you’re against him. That’s just the way he is.”
Riley said in July that he was “floored” by Wade’s departure and regretted not taking a more active role in talks to retain him. But he hasn’t gotten in touch with him.
But there’s no bad blood between Wade and the Heat, who plan to play a video tribute to the many magical moments he contributed to team history during his tenure.
“It will be exciting, his first game back,” Heat guard Goran Dragic of Slovenia said. “I feel like the fans they’re gong to cheer for him. He was with Miami for 13 years, won three championship rings. He serves that.
“For sure he’s going to be all in,” Dragic added. “He’s going to try and have a good game, and it’s going to be a fun game.”
Miami’s Udonis Haslem expects Wade to be businesslike in his return.
“He’s not going to try to do too much,” Haslem predicted. “He’s not going to try and stick it to the Heat or anything like that. He’s going to try to play basketball and put his team in a position to win.”
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