Udonis Haslem: Issues between Heat, Dwyane Wade ‘came to a head’
Udonis Haslem says he wishes he could have done more to convince Dwyane Wade to remain with the Miami Heat, even jokingly saying he should have done what Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers did last offseason to keep DeAndre Jordan.
“In hindsight, I don’t know, I think I should have come in and pulled a Chris Paul and handcuffed him like they did DeAndre Jordan and made him change his mind,” Haslem said during a conference call with the media Tuesday, via ESPN’s Michael Wallace. “I don’t know if there was anything I could have done or should have done. But I felt like it could have been avoided. For whatever reason, it just wasn’t.”
Haslem of course is referencing how Paul and the Clippers aggressively convinced Jordan to stay with the team after he signed a max deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
All kidding aside, Haslem said he wishes Wade had remained with the Heat. But Wade rejected a two-year, $41.5 million offer from the Heat to sign a two-year, $47 million contract with his hometown Chicago Bulls. Haslem seemed to suggest issues between Wade and the organization, especially with Heat president Pat Riley, contributed to the final decision.
“I wanted him to come back, but I just know, personally, there were a lot of things he was feeling that, I guess, maybe just came to a head at this particular time,” Haslem said. “For whatever reason, we — the organization — and him, couldn’t get to an agreement.”
There were reports of bad blood between Wade and Riley leading up to the 13-year Heat player’s free agency decision, mostly stemming from contentious contract negotiations in previous seasons, a notion Wade confirmed after he signed with the Bulls. Riley attempted to say all the right things — in a manner of speaking — once reports surfaced that Wade was headed elsewhere.
Insiders already were suggesting, though, that the writing was on the wall as it related to Wade’s imminent NBA future before he officially announced his decision.
In the end, the Heat have to accept Wade is gone, something already mentioned by one of his former teammates.