Dwyane Wade is an ex-member of the Miami Heat, and everything about this is weird. Earlier this week, Wade and the Heat were at odds over contract negotiations. He wanted them to make him more of a priority in free agency, and the organization wanted him to be patient and fit into their plan to try to improve the roster. Miami president Pat Riley reportedly never even called Wade during free agency, and there was a point where it seemed like he could go to the Denver Nuggets.
Wade joined the Chicago Bulls, not the Nuggets, and the night before he co-hosted "Live with Kelly," he wrote a letter to Miami. On Friday, the Heat are now honoring him for his 13 years with the franchise by marking down his merchandise to $13 and paying tribute to his best moments with the organization all day.
The Miami HEAT will recognize Dwyane Wade's unforgettable 13-year career tomorrow, July 8, via a series of activities. Throughout the day, all HEAT digital and social media platforms will feature Dwyane Wade photo galleries, graphics and videos, including "13 Moments" -- a series of vignettes that pay homage to Wade's remarkable Miami HEAT career. The MiamiMediaMesh, the 3,400 sq. ft. LED marquee on the exterior of the AmericanAirlines Arena will exclusively feature Wade images all day long. Full-page color ads featuring Wade and the iconic "This is My House" image will also be placed in the three major South Florida newspapers. In addition, all Dwyane Wade merchandise will be sold for $13.00 at all The Miami HEAT Store locations while supplies last.
On the one hand, this is nice. Wade has accomplished more in a Miami uniform than anybody else. The Heat had to do something, regardless of how ugly things got between the two sides recently. Their fans surely wanted them to acknowledge how much he's meant to the community, and the store is going to be as busy as it has ever been. At the time of publishing this story, miamiheatstore.com is down.
On the other, this whole thing feels avoidable. Miami offered Wade a reported $40 million over two years, which is only $7.5 million less than he signed for in Chicago. When you account for income tax in Illinois and the lack of it in Florida, he's not really gaining anything financially here. It's starting to seem like both sides might have been less than fully motivated to get a deal done.
Here's one of the newspaper ads:
And here's the first Wade moment shared by the Heat's Twitter account, when he won Finals MVP in 2006:
Even after reading report after report about Wade's dissatisfaction for the last week and a half, it still must be hard for Miami fans to come to terms with the fact that he actually left. It's great that the Heat are recognizing him, but it always seemed like this was supposed to happen after he retires.