The Miami Heat has lost Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls in free agency. This is another cruel blow to Heat fans who watched Lebron James leave two years ago, have seen Chris Bosh sidelined due to health problems and now will watch the greatest player in the franchise’s history, in Wade, finish his career elsewhere.
Yes, the Heat will now suffer through some lean seasons, but do the fans of the Heat really have reason to feel bad? They have three NBA Championships and five Eastern Conference Championships to feel great about. Let’s look at the other three franchises that came in to the Association around the same time as the Heat. The Charlotte Hornets have no Finals appearances in their history. Their fans watched the team move to New Orleans, then had to go through the expansion process all over again with the Bobcats. Would you trade places with them? Of course not.
Then we have the Minnesota Timberwolves who came into the NBA the year after Miami. They have one Western Conference Finals appearance and no NBA Finals appearances. They do have a great young group now, so better days may be on the horizon, but still, would Heat fans give up their past for the T-Wolves future? Of course not.
And then we have the Orlando Magic. The Magic has been to two NBA Finals, but lost them both. The Heat have done that plus also won three NBA Finals. Obviously, Miami would not want to be Orlando either. So, that should make Miami fans feel a little better about losing their “Big Three” in the past two summers. It’s better than never having them at all.
Wade has a chance to go play for his hometown team before he retires. One can hardly blame him for wanting to do that. He will have his jersey retired in Miami and one day there will be a statue of him outside the American Airlines Arena. His best days are certainly in the rear view mirror anyway so the Heat were going to have to rebuild pretty soon no matter what.
Right now there are some hurt feelings. That’s too bad for a player who did so much for the Heat. But, those will pass. Wade has never been the highest paid player on the Heat, so it sure is understandable that he has some bitterness. It’s also understandable that Miami doesn’t want to blow a huge wad of cash on a 34 year old player who is in decline. That’s just good business. They saw what the Lakers suffered with by rewarding Kobe for his past performance. Did they want to go there?
This was really inevitable. It would have been nice to see Wade stay with the Heat until he retired much like Dan Marino did with the Dolphins. But, Brett Favre finished up his career in uniforms other than Green Bay and we saw how the fans felt about him last year when he had his number retired. Wade will get the same reaction in Miami.
Look at it this way Heat fans, you still have those championship tee shirts to wear to the games the next few years while you enjoy cheap tickets and lots of elbow room. That’s not so bad.