Bulls' Dwyane Wade: Haven't spoken to Heat president Pat Riley in months

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

ATLANTA -- Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade says he hasn't spoken to Heat president Pat Riley since last season ended.

Wade played in Miami for 13 seasons before signing a two-year deal with the Bulls over the summer, which includes a player option. He makes his first return to the AmericanAirlines Arena as a visitor on Thursday as the Bulls face the Heat.

"I think you guys know, I haven't talked to him," Wade said Wednesday. "It's as simple as that. I think I've been very open and honest about my respect and love with Pat. I've been honest that I haven't spoken to him since the season ended."

The general thought throughout the league last summer was that Wade would re-sign with the Heat and ultimately end his career in Miami. After contract talks broke down, Wade decided to sign with the Bulls. The 34-year-old said he has "communicated with everyone else" in the organization besides Riley.

"I know who Pat is," Wade said. "It's no secret to me. I was there 13 years, I've seen a lot of players come and go. I know how he is. If you're not with him, you're against him. That's just the way he is. You got to understand that, man. And I'm cool with it. I'm fine, 100 percent. I was there 13 years so I've seen a lot of video tributes, seen a lot of players come in and go out. And I've seen the way he's responded to them. And I know if you're not with him, you're against him."

Wade said he wasn't sure whether he would speak to Riley before the highly anticipated game Thursday.

"I don't know," Wade said. "I plan on playing tonight [against the Atlanta Hawks], focus on this game. And then I'll worry about tomorrow at 8 o'clock."

Wade isn't sure how he'll feel when the Heat play an expected video tribute, as they have for other players who have returned after signing elsewhere.

"I don't know," Wade said. "I've only experienced it from clapping for other guys who came back. I've always been appreciative of the guys who came back and the tributes they got. I have no idea."

LeBron James was very emotional when he saw his tribute, and Mario Chalmers -- the starting point guard on Miami's 2012 and 2013 title teams -- said he was moved by what the Heat did to commemorate his return after a trade to Memphis last year.

"It's going to be very emotional, that I can say,'' Chalmers said. "With me coming back, I had mixed feelings. The fans welcomed me back, everybody at the arena welcomed me back, but I still had a sour taste in my mouth from how the trade went down ... and I'm pretty sure D-Wade's going to feel the same way.''

Wade has remained extremely close withUdonis Haslem, with whom he shared captaincy in Miami for many years. He's been in regular contact with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and continues checking in on some of his former teammates as well.

"It'll probably be emotional for me,'' Spoelstra said Wednesday. "And then we'll get to competition, and that's ultimately what it's all about.''

Bulls forward Taj Gibson said Tuesday that Wade has been telling teammates they "better be ready to play on Thursday," the second night of a back-to-back and the Bulls' third game in four nights.

"I would love if [the game] wasn't on a back-to-back," Wade said with a smile. "I would love if I was able to have a day so I can enjoy my house. I'm going to go sleep in my bed for about three hours -- I would love it a lot more. But I'm going to take advantage of the moments I'm there ... and go out and compete in an arena that I played for 13 years, an environment that I'm used to. So it's going to be fun from that aspect, but I would love it if the schedule gods would have looked at it a little better and not gave us this on a back-to-back."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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