Heat’s Riley: ‘Great Regret’ Over Losing Wade

During a news conference today in Miami, Heat president Pat Riley expressed his sorrow over losing free agent Dwyane Wade to the Bulls and said he should have done more to prevent it. “I have great regret I didn’t put myself in the middle of it,” Riley said in a quote relayed by Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Wade officially signed with Chicago on Friday after reportedly being unhappy with the offers he was getting out of Miami. Riley says he wishes he had taken a more active role in the negotiations, adding that he should have “gotten in a canoe and paddled to The Mediterranean” if it meant keeping Wade, tweets Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post.

Riley said he had been trying to get “another guy” to pair with Wade since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014 (Twitter link). He added that he hadn’t spoken to Wade since his decision, but has been putting together a long e-mail for him (Twitter link).

Wade, a 12-time All-Star, had been with the Heat since they drafted him in 2003. He is the franchise’s leader in career points, assists and several other categories.

“It’s not going to be the same without [Wade] but we will forge ahead,” Riley said. “Dwyane is unique. There will always be a key under the mat [for Dwyane], I just hope it doesn’t get too rusty. We will miss him.” (Twitter links).

Riley touched on several other topics during the news conference:

  • Any decision on Chris Bosh’s future is “on hold” until August or September, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Bosh, who didn’t play after blood clots were discovered in his left calf during the All-Star break, would like to return next season, but the Heat aren’t sure if it’s medically feasible. Riley said the team is considering a restricted travel schedule or limited workload to help Bosh get back on the court (Twitter link). “I know Chris wants to play, and we would be open to that,” Riley said “But this is still fluid. There’s not an answer.” (Twitter link).
  • Riley believes Justise Winslow is ready to be Miami’s starting small forward after a promising rookie season. “Are we ready for Justise Winslow to start at the 3,” Riley asked. “I am.” (Twitter link). The Heat lost last year’s starter when Luol Deng signed with the Lakers.
  • The Heat offered a more balanced contract to Tyler Johnson than the deal he signed with the Nets, but Johnson insisted on taking the offer sheet from Brooklyn (Twitter link). That contract, which the Heat matched on Sunday, pays Johnson $5.628MM in the first year and $5,881,260 in the second, followed by $18,858,765 in season three and $19,631,975 in season four.
  • Kevin Durant, who chose Miami as one of the five teams he met with in free agency, told Riley that he wants to win right away and viewed the Heat as being in a rebuilding phase (Twitter link). “I’ll never not take an offer from a free agent who calls and says we’d like to talk to you,” Riley said. “We had to do it, it didn’t slow us down.” (Twitter links).
  • Riley is working toward a contract extension with head coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff (Twitter link).
  • The Heat don’t plan to use their $2.9MM room exception this offseason. (Twitter link).
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