Heat president Pat Riley expressed some regret over the events that led to Dwyane Wade’s departure from Miami in a new ESPN feature by Wright Thompson.
After LeBron James left the Heat to return to Cleveland in 2014, Miami hit a crossroads and chose to retain Wade on shorter-term deals for two seasons and signed Chris Bosh to a max contract for five years.
Riley says that Wade’s agent asked to deal directly with the owners instead of Pat, so he merely honored that request. Mostly, he just wishes the whole thing had gone differently. “I know he feels I didn’t fight hard enough for him,” he says. “I was very, very sad when Dwyane said no. I wish I could have been there and told him why I didn’t really fight for him at the end. … I fought for the team. The one thing I wanted to do for him, and maybe this is what obscured my vision, but I wanted to get him another player so he could end his career competitive.”
But of course, Riley says, almost immediately after LeBron left, Bosh’s camp wanted to reopen a deal they’d just finished, knowing the Heat had money and felt vulnerable. Bosh threatened to sign with the Rockets. In the end, Riley gave Bosh what he wanted. Now he wishes he’d said no to Bosh’s max deal and given all that money to Wade.
Bosh’s health problems involving blood clots have put a hold on his career, although he still intends to play again. Wade, still a Miami franchise icon, left for the Bulls last off-season after the Heat maxed out Hassan Whiteside, tying up long-term money.