While appearing on ABC’s NBA Finals broadcast Tuesday night—the Golden State Warriors are your 2015 champs, by the way—Dwyane Wade said something weird and unsettling. He talked about playing for the Miami Heat in the past tense.
Here’s the clip (big h/t to SB Nation):
“When I was in Miami…”
Okay, fine. Everybody can panic a little bit.
Wade’s contractual war with the Heat is well-documented by now. He has a player option worth just over $16.1 million that Pat Riley and crew always thought he would exercise. But apparently he’s seeking more long-term security before the salary-cap boon in 2016. And while the Heat may be willing to give him that security in years, the two sides are worlds apart in the financial department.
This could all prove to be nothing. Wade has spent his entire career with the Heat, and the franchise has built its entire #HeatLifer campaign around him. Even so, the most recent chatter isn’t exactly encouraging.
Wade is 33 and requires frequent time off, but he can still ball. If the Heat bid farewell to him, they’re not a playoff squad next year. Not even if they re-sign Goran Dragic. They’d need at least one more high-impact player to even entertain a postseason berth.
And, again, this could all be nothing. If it’s not, Wade’s verbal gaffe on national television will be seen as a subtle precursor to what happens—even though it’s not.
It was an innocent slip of the tongue more likely than not. In the event he actually leaves Miami, it’s not a decision he’ll have made already, nearly a month before free agency even starts and contract negotiations can officially begin.
So worry not, Heat fans.
At least not because of this.
As for the rumors of deteriorating dialogue between Wade and the Heat, well, worrying is your call there.