After getting traded back to the Miami Heat last season, Dwyane Wade played an important role as the team’s sixth man.
Averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 22.2 minutes off the bench in 21 games for the Heat, the 15-year veteran’s impact was substantial. He was even the go-to scorer for the team down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
In order to preserve him for late-game situations, coach Erik Spoelstra would usually hold him out of first-quarter action entirely and use him sparingly in the third as well, thus giving him the bulk of his court time before halftime and late in the third until the final whistle.
Now with a lucrative multi-year offer on the table from a Chinese League team, Wade has an important decision to make. Will he return to the NBA, head overseas or retire from basketball entirely?
While that decision is unknown, it appears as though Pat Riley wants the future Hall of Famer back. Not only that, but he has huge hopes for him, too.
“I want him back as a player. I want him back as a competitor,” Riley said, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I want him back as a guy that wants to have the greatest year he ever had as a player. I read more articles about Dwyane being done, ‘he’s lost a step, he’s not the same player.’ We don’t want him back just as a placemat holder or somebody who’s going to be a veteran in the locker room.Dwyane is a great player, is a great talent. He’s not the same guy he was in 2006 but he can be a very good player for us and make a big difference.”
Riley added, ”I think this year is a pivotal year for these guys when they come back and to try to dispel the notion and the perception out there that we are who a lot of people think we are. And to me that’s a great challenge on the part of the team and the coaching staff.”
Riley added that he’s going to be patient while waiting on the decisions by Wade and Udonis Haslem, both of which are Heat legends contemplating their next moves.
"Both players are being respected to the utmost because of their history with us," Riley said, per the Associated Press. "I'm sure they're sitting down thinking about what they want to do and how it's going to impact the rest of their lives. I do believe, and I hope, that by the middle of August that we'll probably have a decision on both players.”
Judging by Riley’s words, it seems as though he believes that Wade can return to a starting-caliber player if given the opportunity. While he’s most likely best suited to be a sixth man at this point in his career, Wade might be enticed at the possibility of starting or taking on an increased role.News Now - Sport News