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Dwyane Wade’s stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers was short-lived, but he could not be more appreciative toward the team for sending him back to the Miami Heat as part of their massive roster makeover Thursday.
The Cavaliers sent Wade to the Heat, for whom he starred in building a career over 13 seasons that will one day put him in the Hall of Fame, on Thursday. Cleveland received a protected 2024 second-round pick from Miami in return,
“We’re definitely happy to be home,” Wade said in a video posted to his Twitter account Friday morning. “Thank you to the Cleveland Cavaliers fan base, thank you to the organization and the players that accepted me with open arms.”
Wade signed a one-year deal for the NBA minimum after negotiating a buyout from the Chicago Bulls to join close friend LeBron James in Cleveland.
After starting the first three games, he approached Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue about coming off the bench and it proved to be a good fit as Wade anchored the second unit, dubbed the Bench Mob, and it proved to be an effective group.
However, Cleveland’s busy Thursday, which included bringing in guards George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood, meant Wade’s role would be reduced going forward, should he have remained a Cavalier.
First-year Cleveland GM Koby Altman felt Wade deserved to have a say in what his immediate future held for him.
“As I started to get closer to deals to bring back youthful wings that I wanted to see play right away, I realized that this was going to be a role for Wade where minutes are going to be reduced, and reduced, and reduced,” Altman explained during his conference call with reporters. “The other thing was our rookie, Cedi Osman, who injected what I’m talking about in terms of energy and enthusiasm and playing hard — he’s infectious to the locker room and the play on the floor, and I want him to play.
“I said, ‘Is this fair for Dwyane? Is this something that he signed up for?’ And so, we explored that with Miami. I wanted to make sure that I talked to LeBron about that. Because Dwyane did come in large part because of LeBron, and because of the situation here. And we wanted to give Dwyane the option. ‘Do you want to be a part of this? No one’s telling you that you have to go by any means, but, we want to give you a chance to go home.’ I think he and his representation were very, very appreciative of that.”
The Associated Press reported Wade and James were en route to the Cavaliers’ practice facility in Independence when he received a text from his agent, Leon Rose.
“Call me 911,” it read.
“So if you get a text like that and the trade deadline is coming up and you know the team that you’re on is going to be very active, you know something is going down with you,” Wade said. “And my mind went right to, ‘No, it’s not Miami. There’s no way.’ My mind went right to that because I felt like that’s the only other place I can be.”
Wade expressed before the Cavaliers played the Heat recently that he would “love” to finish his career in Miami. Now, his wish has come true.
“I always felt that one day it would happen,” Wade told The AP. “For me, it’s always been a hope. You just don’t know how or when you’re going to get there.”