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D-Wade M.I.A at M-I-A

Right county. Wrong terminal.  WADE-Confused

That about sums up the missed opportunity Miami Heat fans experienced Monday morning when they gathered to welcome star guard Dwyane Wade to Miami-Wade County in his first trip home as a free agent.

As part of the WeWantWade rallying campaign to encourage Wade to re-sign with the Heat, fans received notice early this morning to meet Wade at Miami International Airport for his arrival.

They were sent to the terminal for chartered planes. Wade flew commercial (probably a cost-cutting move, considering he hasn't signed that $125 million contract just yet).

Still, one word resonates in analyzing the ordeal.


The man affectionately known as MV3 makes his living faking the knees and ankles out of defenders on the court. But Monday's misdirection move had to be one of the all-time classics of his career. He shook off about 50 fans as well as tons of media.

It was simply a silly and amusing, but well-intentioned mistake, of course.

The Heat's business operations and marketing staffs - the folks in charge of the fan recruiting campaign - received one set of information. D-Wade, apparently, was operating off another. Conspiracy? Probably not. But that won't keep a few such theorists from fraternizing.

As innocent and honest of a miscue as that was on Monday, the Heat's basketball operations side can't afford to make that kind of miscalculation later this week. This is arguably is the most important period in the 22-year history of the franchise.

Thursday marks the first day free agents can sign contracts with their new teams. The hope, plea and flat-out prayer in Miami is that Wade's new team will be his same old one - just with much better players.

But the Chicago Bulls, Wade's hometown team, is charging hard at him. He met with them twice over the Wade-JZ weekend, in addition to sit-downs with the Knicks (Wade is fond of his Olympic assistant coach Mike D'Antoni and his offensive innovation) and Nets (much like LeBron, Wade also has Jay Z on speed dial).

After arriving Monday morning, Wade tweeted that he was "excited" to be back in the MIA to kick off his basketball camp on Tuesday at Nova Southeastern University. He will also co-promote events alongside Alonzo Mourning leading to The Summer Groove.

But most important, Wade will sit down with Pat Riley and the Heat's power brass later this week for his official recruiting session.

We assume Wade and Riley will be on the same page, working from the same itinerary. The Heat, Miami-Wade County and legions of South Florida's frazzled fans simply can't afford another missed shot at Wade.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)


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