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Riley wants Wade back on Heat, hopeful for mid-August decision

Issac Baldizon / National Basketball Association / Getty

Miami Heat team president Pat Riley has made it clear he wants Dwyane Wade back in a Heat jersey next season, and he's hopeful for a verdict on the matter within the next few weeks.

“I do hope by the middle of August, we will probably have a decision on both (Wade and Heat lifer Udonis Haslem),” Riley told reporters in a conference call, as transcribed by the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson. “There has been communication with Dwyane and with his agent. It’s best that we give him some more time."

Wade has been travelling in China as part of his offseason itinerary, a busy schedule Riley says the Heat are cognizant of.

The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer played the first 13 seasons of his storied career with the Heat, collecting titles in 2006, 2012, and 2013, and being named to 12 All-Star teams. After a one-season sabbatical with his hometown Chicago Bulls in 2016-17, then a 46-game stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, Wade was traded back to the Heat in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick.

Upon his return to the franchise, Wade averaged 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game off the bench, providing leadership and depth en route to his 12th postseason appearance with the Heat. Even though his present-day abilities pale in comparison to his MVP-caliber peak, Riley still believes Wade brings plenty to the table beyond experience.

“I want Dwyane back as a player, a guy who wants to have the greatest year he’s ever had as a player," Riley added. "I read more articles about Dwyane might not have the same motivation, but I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to. If he plays, he’s going to want to do it. We don’t want him back as a (place-holder) or someone who’s going to be a veteran in the locker room. Dwyane is a great player, a great talent. He can make a big difference for us.”

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