Pat Riley: I was ‘wrong’ to not give Dwyane Wade max contract in 2014
Dwyane Wade has essentially acknowledged that Pat Riley is the reason he left the Miami Heat, and it sounds like Riley himself is not afraid to take responsibility for the divorce.
During the broadcast of the Heat-Bulls game Thursday night, which was Wade’s first ever as a visiting player in Miami, TNT’s David Aldridge revealed that Riley admitted to him that he was “wrong” to not sign Wade to a max contract back in 2014.
“Riley told me before the game that, if he had to do it over again, in the summer of 2014, after LeBron James left and went back to Cleveland, we should have given Wade a max deal as well as Chris Bosh, as the team did,” Adridge said, according to Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk. “‘That was wrong. I should have, we should have given him that. That’s a big second-guess, but that’s on me.’”
Wade was battling a knee injury at the time, and Riley obviously envisioned him breaking down rather than bouncing back the way he did. So Wade ended up signing a two-year, $31 million deal with an opt-out clause. He opted out and eventually signed a one-year, $20 million contract for last season.
Riley didn’t want to end up giving Wade a Kobe Bryant-like contract that would cripple the team’s salary cap. It’s easy to say he should have in hindsight, because Wade’s production didn’t fall off the way Bryant’s did in Los Angeles.
When given the chance again to reward Wade for his loyalty last summer, Riley felt that re-signing Hassan Whiteside and pursuing Kevin Durant was more important. That’s how Wade ended up in Chicago, and it’s the reason the 12-time All-Star recently had this to say about his relationship with his former boss. Now that Riley has admitted he didn’t treat Wade fairly, perhaps things will change.