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Dwyane Wade is a realist. Having just recently turned 36 years old, there are more yesterdays in terms of his NBA career than tomorrows… and he knows it.
Playing on a one-year deal for the NBA minimum ($2,328,652) for the Cavaliers, Wade said he’d like to finish what will be a Hall of Fame career with the team with which he played his first 13 seasons, the Miami Heat.
Wade, who played with the Chicago Bulls last season before being bought out last summer and signing with the Cavaliers on Sept. 27, told the Miami Herald before Cleveland hosted Miami on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena that he’d like to go out a Heat.
“I have thought about it of course,” Wade said. “I wouldn’t lie and say I haven’t. When that opportunity comes, that day comes, hopefully, I can go out in a Miami Heat jersey. I don’t know how it will be but I would love it.”
There are a couple ways for it to happen. Wade could play a final season in Miami or he could go the ceremonial route and sign a one-day contract and retire, as Paul Pierce did with the Celtics.
Which would Wade prefer?
“I don’t know,” he said. “For me, I’m at the point where you get this high up in years played in the NBA, you kind of take the summer to think about what you want as a player and go from there.
“For me, the arena that I walked in to play, I would like to leave in. How it’s done, I don’t know. I can’t predict the future. If it’s a Paul Pierce situation or just playing, I don’t know. But I definitely would like to walk out the same way I came in.”
Wade made it clear, he is enjoying playing with good friend LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers this season.
“I smile just as much as anybody in here,” he said. “I’m enjoying the game. Team success is obviously the ultimate thing. But throughout the year, you have to find a joy. You can’t let losses and all these things really take your joy away from playing.
“I can’t play this game forever, so I’m definitely just enjoying the process. I’m enjoying being in the locker room with these veteran guys. Losses, going on a losing streak sucks like any team. But I definitely enjoy it.”
Wade said this season does not resemble the fourth campaign in Miami in The Big Three time of James, Wade and Chris .
“No,” he told the Herald. “Totally different. There’s just a new group of guys that have to deal with learning how to play together. We’ve had to deal with injuries and amongst all that, we started off bad and then we went hot and now we’ve hit a rut. With all of that being said, we’re still right there in the top of the East with the top teams.
“It’s totally different. Back then [with Miami], that was a team that went to the Finals four years in a row. To just have that, let’s come in every day and our goal is just get to The Finals. But it’s the every day that you got to come in to get back to that point, when you know you’re good enough to get there. But it’s just a little boredom that set in, just what you have to do every day just to get back where you felt you could get to.
“This is a team trying to find an identity, trying to mesh together. Now, we’re losing Kevin Love and now we have to figure something else out. There’s many different challenges, but it’s a challenge.”