Is Dwyane Wade interested in playing for the Miami Heat next season? Team president Pat Riley doesn't know the answer, but he says he willing to wait to find out.
"I want him back as a player," Riley said. "I want him back as a competitor. I want him back as a guy who wants to have the greatest year he ever had as a player. I read more articles about 'Dwyane being done, he's lost a step, he's not the same player, he might not have the same motivation.' But I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to."
A thorny issue is how much the Heat would be willing to pay Wade, who has won three NBA titles in Miami in his 15-year career, which saw him play for the Chicago Bulls two seasons ago and spend last season divided between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat.
Riley, speaking with the media Friday on a conference call, pointed to two likely contract options for Wade, both of which would impact Miami's luxury tax implications: the $5.3 million exception or the $2.4 million veteran minimum.
Riley referred to the luxury tax maneuvering as "the abyss that we all deal with in the NBA."
Wade, 36, started only three of 67 games last season between the Cavaliers and Heat. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in just under 23 minutes per game.
For his career, he has averaged 22.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists in just over 34 minutes per game.
Wade indicated last season that he wasn't certain about playing this year, and he hasn't divulged any plans since then. His recent on-court workouts included time with LeBron James, with whom Wade won two of his three NBA titles, on Thursday in Las Vegas.
''I think it's best that we give him some more time,'' Riley said.
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