Pat Riley Comments on Dwyane Wade's Decision to Leave Miami Heat

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley pose at Wade's 30th birthday party on Sunday night, January 15, 2012, at the Setai Hotel in South Beach, Miami. (AP Photo/WhoSay)
Associated Press

Miami Heat president Pat Riley reacted to the shocking news that Dwyane Wade will leave Miami to sign with the Chicago Bulls.

In a text to Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald on July 7 evening, Riley wrote the following:

SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!

Riley spoke about Wade again on Saturday, via the Palm Beach Post's Jason Lieser:

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley: "What happened with Dwyane floored me."

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley: "I'm gonna miss what I might have had planned for (Wade) and his future and how I saw the end going for him."

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley on Wade: "My responsibility to make it happen. I didn't make it happen... I have great regret that I didn't immerse myself in it."

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley said he should've "gotten in a canoe and paddled to The Mediterranean" if that's what it took to keep Wade.

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley on Wade: "I've always been reaching to get him another guy, especially after LJ left, to help him win."

However, there apparently wasn't much, if any, communication between Wade and Riley this offseason, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald:

Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick

While you're watching Kelly Ripa, one more nugget: Pat Riley never called Dwyane Wade during the entire process.

Wade, after years of sacrificing salary to build a winning team, wanted more money and security.

The money was important, but to a degree it was also symbolic, via Skolnick:

Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick

This was not a game or a bluff, no matter how many hoped it was. Feelings were hurt. Frustration was real.

Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick

Communicated late last night w/ some current & former NBA players who have dealt with Riley. Surprised? Yes. Stunned? No. "He doesn't bend."

And so Wade left the only professional team he had ever known to join Chicago with Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler in the backcourt.

Riley, meanwhile, is left with a team built around Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic and maybe Chris Bosh. However, Le Batard added Miami might "fight to keep Bosh off the court to clear his salary space by February so it can better go after the big free-agent class of 2017 that will include LeBron [James], [Kevin] Durant, Steph Curry, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook."

However, Riley spoke about Bosh as well on Saturday, via Lieser:

Jason Lieser @JasonLieser

Pat Riley on Bosh: "I know Chris wants to play, and we would be open to that. But this is still fluid. There's not an answer."

As Wade told the Associated Press after announcing he would sign with Chicago, "This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice for myself and my family."

At one point, the Heat were a part of that family. But in the NBA, business comes before family. It's a lesson Heat fans were painfully reminded of Wednesday evening.


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