On Saturday, Joe Vardon of The Athletic provided Wade's explanation of his decision to join the Cavs as a free agent in September 2017, which was based on the opportunity to make another trip to the NBA Finals:
"That's why I signed there in the first place. If I had known [the trade] was gonna happen, I wouldn't have signed there. It's gonna be an item on my resume that's hard to understand, but it happened. I know I filled my role while I was there, as a veteran and a leader. At least I can say I made some really cool relationships with the people who were there."
Wade told Vardon he didn't ask why he was dealt back to Miami as part of Cleveland's roster overhaul in February, but he expressed disappointment about watching the Cavaliers get swept by the Golden State Warriors in last season's Finals.
"Of course that was my reaction," he said. "I'm watching it like, 'That's why I went there, to play in this series.'"
The 36-year-old Chicago native explained he expected a short stay in Cleveland, knowing longtime buddy LeBron James' "ultimate goal" was heading to Los Angeles, but he didn't plan to get traded before even getting a shot at the playoffs.
"But, you know, things can always change," Wade said. "That's why we were going to have the conversation. But it was supposed to be at the end of the season, after we made it to the Finals."
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Instead, the Cavaliers attempted to reshape their roster midseason. It was enough to help the team earn its fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, but the Cavs were no match for the star-studded Warriors. And James did proceed to leave for L.A., signing with the Lakers in the offseason.
Meanwhile, Wade signed a one-year extension with the Heat and announced in September he's going to retire at season's end.
His trade from Cleveland prevented him from getting one last chance to shine on the NBA's biggest stage, but his resume is still clearly Hall of Fame worthy with three championships, 12 All-Star Game selections and an NBA Finals MVP Award from 2006.