Longtime face of the Miami Heat franchise, Dwyane Wade, was officially introduced today as a member of the Bulls. The veteran inked a two-year, $47MM deal with Chicago this offseason, leaving behind the only NBA team he had ever known. Wade addressed members of the media today and touched on a number of subjects. The transcription comes courtesy of ESPN.com and Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald. Here are some of the highlights from Wade’s press conference:
Discussing who the “alpha” is on the new-look Bulls:
“This is Jimmy’s team. It won’t be a tug and pull whose team it is.” Wade then recalled the 2004 offseason when Miami acquired big man Shaquille O’Neal, saying, “We had no championships at the time and I remember his press conference. I was playing in the Olympics at the time, like Jimmy is right now. And I remember Shaq said, ‘We’re not going to go through this all year. This is Dwyane Wade’s team.’ So, we’re not going to go through this all year. This is Jimmy Butler‘s team. Myself and Rajon Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes to this team and to this city. He’s the young Bull on this team. He’s a 26-year-old who can play 40 minutes if coach wants him to and maybe more. I ain’t trying to do all that. And we’re going to depend on him a lot.”
Discussing if he chose Chicago because of a rift with Heat president Pat Riley:
“I have no rift with Pat Riley. It’s funny the reports come out about a lot of different things. I’ve never seen nobody around me and Pat when me and him was talking. I didn’t see no one CC’d on the emails that we talk about. I have nothing but respect for what he’s done in this game. I have so much to learn. So I have no rift in that. This year, the direction and the focus for that organization in Miami — which I have nothing but love and respect for — was a little different than it has been in years past.
With that being said, my direction and my focus was a little different than it had been in year’s past. I communicated with them that ‘Hey I’ve only done this once, but I’m going to be a free agent. I’m going to go out and see what the market is saying about me.’ And, like I said, this opportunity with Chicago when first I said I was going to be a free agent, this was nothing that we all knew was going to happen. But it was things that happened along the way that made this even realer and realer. I made the decision.
I had a contract offer in Miami that I could have took. I decided not to take it. It was my decision to be selfish and to live out a dream of mine. I’ve brought a lot of excitement to Miami and it’s a home to me. It will always be. I want to bring a little bit here to Chicago when I have a little bit left. So, let’s clear up the notion that Pat Riley orchestrated me getting out of Miami because he didn’t offer me the money I wanted. This was not a money deal. If this was a money deal I wouldn’t be sitting here. I would have taken the most money. At the end of the day this is a place I wanted to be.”
Discussing Riley’s role, or lack thereof, in his recruitment this summer:
“I dealt with (team owner) Micky Arison, Nick Arison when it came to my contracts the last two years. That’s what he means when he said he wasn’t involved, meaning he didn’t sit at the table. He didn’t call or email or text or nothing like that to try to sway me or try to get me back. I guess that’s what he meant.
I dealt with two people I respect in the organization. And like I said, at the end of the day it wasn’t about Pat Riley, it wasn’t about Micky, it wasn’t about Nick. It was about me. I told that to the Arison family in our meeting. They asked me, ‘What else? Is there anything else we can do? I said, ‘This is a decision I’m going to have to make. And I made that decision.’
I wasn’t looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn’t the focus of mine. My focus was making the best decision for my family. He has to make the best decision for the organization, which he has done an amazing job over his tenure there. And we all benefited from it.“