Dwyane Wade says Pat Riley not calling him was ‘deciding factor’ in leaving Heat
Dwyane Wade has said in the past that his decision to leave the Miami Heat in free agency had nothing to do with Pat Riley not calling him. Roughly six months later, Wade is willing to admit that was a lie.
Wade joined Adrian Wojnarowski for “The Vertical Podcast” this week, and the 35-year-old called Riley’s lack of communication with him the “deciding factor” that pushed him out of Miami.
“I did feel at the end of the day it’s Micky Arison’s team but it’s Pat’s show. I love Pat and I know he loves me. The fact that we didn’t talk, that hurt,” Wade said, as transcribed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “That was my deciding factor when it came down to the end of the day and he didn’t show he wanted me there. I know the Arison family loved me and wanted me there. I know Spo [coach Erik Spoelstra] wanted me there.
“At the end of the day, I didn’t hear from the guy I needed to. I expressed this to him later. That right there hurt me. It showed me … it was time to remove myself from the situation. … It’s a business. But I’m human as well. I was waiting for him to step up and meet me, call me, do something and it just never happened. That’s not the Pat I know.”
Compare that to what Wade said at his introductory press conference with the Chicago Bulls, and you’ll see he has greatly changed his tune.
“I couldn’t concern myself or worry about someone reaching out to me or not reaching out to me,” Wade said in July. “That’s [wasn’t] why I made the decision. It wasn’t because he didn’t reach out to me. How petty is that? I wasn’t looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn’t the focus of mine. … My heart was telling me to go back home.”
In fairness, Wade was in a tough spot after signing with the Bulls. He couldn’t come right out and say he only went to Chicago because Riley ticked him off, because that would have been admitting the Bulls were merely a fallback plan.
But it’s no surprise Wade felt unappreciated. He took less money with the Heat on more than one occasion to help Riley assemble contending teams, and he wanted to be rewarded for his loyalty. Judging by the comments Riley made a few months back, it sounds like the Heat president regrets not showing the best player in franchise history the respect he had earned.