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Pat Riley Is Saddddddd About Dwyane Wade’s Decision to Leave Miami

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Dwyane Wade is leaving Miami. The 12-time All-Star and longtime face of the Heat agreed to a two-year deal with the Bulls on Wednesday night, sending the shooting guard back to his native Chicago. The Bulls offered Wade $47.5 million to Miami’s reported $41.5 million, a difference that Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard points out is almost negligible given Florida’s lack of an income tax. Wade’s decision to leave the Heat, then, was likely about more than money.

On Wednesday night, Heat president Pat Riley sent a long, emotional text message about Wade to Le Batard. It made the rounds on social media, and understandably so. We thought the text bore breaking down, so it is presented here in its entirety, with annotations below.


When historians look back on the year 2016, they will call this the Year of Sad! The election: Sad! NBA free agency: Sad! Chipotle: Sad!

SO saddddddd!

But is Riley sad? Rumors have circulated that perhaps he never wanted to keep Wade around and may have lowballed him with an initial $10 million annual offer. If this was the case, it might be reasonable to assume that Wade, who repeatedly took pay cuts to fill out Miami’s roster, would be less than enthusiastic about this treatment. Also: The only times I have spelled “sad” with that many d’s have been: (1) when I discussed the death of Aaliyah on AIM and (2) after I have had some beverages.

I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today.

The heat death is coming. And bees? They’re disappearing. The rates at which they’re dying off — I’m telling you, pal, you wouldn’t believe it.

It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!!

Riley sounds almost as if he’s preemptively pushing back against Miami fans, most of whom did not, in fact, turn on Wade in the way OKC fans had days earlier when Kevin Durant announced his move to Golden State. But if Riley’s goal here was to thank Wade and serve as a model for heartbroken fans, he quickly leaves that sentiment behind.

Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us.

It’s weird that Riley started counting from Wade’s first championship with the Heat, right? He was drafted in 2003. That was his third season with the team.

Admittedly, Riley just made the point about Wade’s role in that first championship run, but it sure seems like he’s saying that the important years are the ones when titles happen, or at least are possible. And now that Wade is 34 and his skills are beginning to fade …

Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home.

He made that choice without, among other things, contact from Riley, who reportedly never called Wade at any point during his free agency.

Bad, bad summer for us.

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Getty Images

No Durant, and now this. Here is what Riley said about Wade at a May press conference: “He’s a lifer. What he’s done in this city over the last 13 years is irreplaceable. So, we want to do the right thing. There’s no doubt.”

Let’s acknowledge that “lifer” is a weird way to describe an employee — unless, of course, you mean your commitment to said employee is lifelong. But if the $10 million rumors are true …

But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026.

Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.

Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks.

Is avoiding open violence here an unexpected outcome?

I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS!

You’ll still see Daddy on Christmas, and you will boo him vigorously.

And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget.

Oh, I wanna dance with somebody

I wanna feel the Heat with somebody

Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody

With somebody who loves me

I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there.

Riley didn’t attend the Heat’s final meeting with Wade.

Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!

I like to imagine that in times of stress, Riley always lapses into Yoda-speak. Hassan Whiteside, the future is.