Dwyane Wade Says He Could Play 'Another 2, 3 Years' but Opted for Retirement

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2019

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Washington. The Heat won 113-108. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

As an outside contender for Sixth Man of the Year, Dwyane Wade knows he can still bring it.

He just knows he wants to walk away while he still can.  

"I know I can play a solid two more years, especially in this role that I'm in now," Wade told Shams Charania of The Athletic. "I can play another two, three years, definitely.

"People around me want me to keep playing. But I made the decision to say this was my last season, and I wanted to walk away the way I'm walking away now and have no regrets about it."

Wade, 37, is averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game off the bench this season. There have been stretches of the year where he's been the Miami Heat's best player, and he's learned to pick his spots in a role that's been tailored to his current strengths.

"It has been a challenge at times to figure out when and how much to do and how much not to do," Wade said. "I want to be part of being the young guys' go-to, and not getting in the way of that, but there's moments where you feel you can bring a lot to the game. There's games where I feel like I can do it like I used to. I've been trying to figure it out all year. Some games, I do well with it. Some games, I don't. Some games, it might take me out of it because I'm trying to give them their way.

"I'm just enjoying passing what I can to the next generation."

Wade returned to the Heat at the 2018 trade deadline after a year-and-a-half odyssey that featured forgettable stops in his hometown of Chicago and Cleveland. The Cavaliers version of Wade was particularly dispiriting, benched after beginning the season as a starter and never recapturing the magic he had with LeBron James in Miami.

The Cavs' trade of Wade to the Heat was little more than a mercy deal; Cleveland would have been essentially phasing him out of the rotation after retooling its roster at the deadline.

"A decision like that has to be on you. It has to be a you thing," Wade said of walking away. "People want you to keep going for selfish reasons. No one knows what you're dealing with. I've always had support from people around me. Even now, you hear from people. Everyone wanting you to keep playing. But you have to understand yourself, understand your body."

The Heat welcomed Wade back in what could have been a farewell whimper, but he found himself rejuvenated in his longtime professional home for the 2018-19 season.

Wade's farewell tour has been well-received across the league, with teams honoring the 13-time All-Star at every stop. It's been a more-than-fitting end to a career and good timing on Wade's part, given there will be no memories of him hobbling down the court well beyond his prime.