MIAMI (AP) — After 12 years with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade needed a reminder of how much the franchise valued him.Once he found out, any chance of him leaving vanished.
Wade accepted a $20 million, one-year deal on Thursday to stay with the Heat next season, ending his latest foray into free agency and wrapping up a weeks-long saga that had him seriously wondering about leaving for the first time. A pair of conversations, first with Heat CEO Nick Arison and then another with managing general partner Micky Arison, reminded Wade of what he meant to the team and from there it was a matter of just making numbers work.
“Sitting down with Nick, sitting down with Micky and having conversations with them that I’ve never had, that was big for me,” Wade told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I’ve never had a business conversation with one of them. … They got to show me how much they really wanted me to be here, how important it was for them that I continue to wear one jersey.”
Without those conversations, Wade said, “I don’t think we would be at this point.”
Per NBA rules, the Heat could not comment other than saying that they intend to enter into a contract with Wade once the NBA moratorium period ends. Wade cannot sign his new deal until July 9.
Wade said he was able to track through social media how much Heat fans wanted him to stay, which he said factored heavily into his decision-making process.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciated what they all said,” Wade said.
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