Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said "last year wasn't fun."
Dating back to the 2010-11 season, the first after LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to sign with Miami to form the so-called "Big Three," the Heat went to four consecutive Finals and won two championships.
Last season Wade posted his lowest points-per-game average (19.0) since his rookie season and appeared in only 54 games as part of a plan to limit wear-and-tear on his knees before the playoffs. The Heat lost last year's Finals to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
This offseason Miami lost James, who decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but added forwards Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, among other moves in free agency. Miami also re-signed Wade, 32, to a contract reportedly worth $31.1 million over two years with a player option for the 2015-16 season.
"I don't know," Wade said in an interview with Bleacher Report. "It's hard to say, man, because you want it. We wanted it. So it's hard to say that. You don't know exactly what's going to come with it, but we put ourselves in that position. But sometimes you can put too much on yourself, all of us, and it becomes a black cloud around. Last year wasn't fun. I mean, there was no stretch of it fun. That whole season, to me, it's amazing we made it to the Finals. It's just honest.
"Just this year, coming in, I can see, even the coaches, there's just a different renewed focus and energy. No one knows what it's going to lead to. No one knows if that's going to lead to a Finals win or Finals loss or not the Finals at all. But right now it's good for everyone to come in every day and want to be here."
The Heat open the regular season on Oct. 29 against the Washington Wizards.
- Chris Johnson