The futures of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem remain uncertain for now, but Heat president Pat Riley said today on a conference call that he expects both players to make decisions within the next few weeks on whether or not they want to return to Miami. While Wade and Haslem have reportedly received overseas interest, there’s a belief that both players are more likely to either re-sign with the Heat or retire.
As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details, Riley said that he expects to have some clarity on both players by the middle of August. The Heat president also spoke specifically about the club’s desire to re-sign Wade.
“I want Dwyane back as a player, a guy who wants to have the greatest year he’s ever had as a player,” Riley said of the longtime Heat star. “I read more articles about Dwyane might not have the same motivation, but I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to. If he plays, he’s going to want to do it. We don’t want him back as a placemat holder or someone who’s going to be a veteran in the locker room. Dwyane is a great player, a great talent. He can make a big difference for us.”
There have been reports indicating that Wade would want the $5.337MM taxpayer mid-level exception if he returns to the Heat, but Riley deflected an inquiry about whether the team would be willing to offer its MLE, suggesting that’s a question for owner Micky Arison.
Here’s more from Riley, via Jackson:
- Riley dismissed the idea that he’s frustrated by not being able to make any real upgrades to last year’s roster, telling reporters that “continuity is important” for the club.
- The Heat have been in touch with Justise Winslow‘s agent, but discussions about a rookie scale contract extension are unlikely to become serious until later in the offseason. “We are going to address that in late August, once everything dies down,” Riley said. “We look at Justise as one of our anchor pieces. We will have that extension discussion in late August. We don’t have to do anything until mid-October.”
- Riley confirmed that the Heat haven’t been willing to surrender young players and picks in order to trade highly-priced veterans this offseason. “We have had opportunities this summer to do that a lot and it wasn’t worth getting rid of our young assets or picks coming up, so we decided to stand pat with team that we have,” he said.
- According to Riley, there have been “great discussions” between head coach Erik Spoelstra and disgruntled center Hassan Whiteside. Riley says he expects Whiteside to have a big year in 2018/19 and claimed that the big man “has not been shopped all over the league.”