Dwyane Wade tells Chicago media he had no rift with Pat Riley and decision to return home was selfish
The saga of Dwyane Wade's departure from the Miami Heat and his relationship with team president Pat Riley gained another chapter worth of answers on Friday when he made his introductory press conference with the Chicago Bulls.
Wade, 34, said multiple times Riley had nothing to do with his decision to head home and that ultimately he wanted to be selfish. Wade said Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler played a big role in his recruitment.
Q: Did you really want to come home to Chicago or did the perceived rift with Riley play a big role?
"I have no rift with Pat Riley. It's funny the reports come out about a lot of different things. I've never seen nobody around me and Pat when me and him was talking. I didn't see no one CC'd on the emails that we talk about. I have nothing but respect for what he's done in this game. I have so much to learn. So I have no rift in that.
"For me as a player, when you get opportunities to be a free agent you have to sit and look and see what is the best situation for you. In 2010, the best situation for me was to play with Chris [Bosh] and LeBron [James] because I wanted to be able to compete for championships and that's what I felt was best. The other two opt out seasons, last year I wanted more money -- just to be real. I got more money. This year, the direction and the focus for that organization in Miami -- which I have nothing but love and respect for -- was a little different than it has been in years past.
"With that being said, my direction and my focus was a little different than it had been in year's past. I communicated with them that 'Hey I've only done this once, but I'm going to be a free agent. I'm going to go out and see what the market is saying about me.' And, like I said, this opportunity with Chicago when first I said I was going to be a free agent, this was nothing that we all knew was going to happen. But it was things that happened along the way that made this even realer and realer. I made the decision.
"I had a contract offer in Miami that I could have took. I decided not to take it. It was my decision to be selfish and to live out a dream of mine. I've brought a lot of excitement to Miami and it's a home to me. It will always be. I want to bring a little bit here to Chicago when I have a little bit left.
"I still have a little bit left by the way. I've listened to all you guys the last couple weeks. I know what you all have been saying. But, I wanted to come here and be a part of building this organization back up to what this organization should go and should be.
"So, let's clear up the notion that Pat Riley orchestrated me getting out of Miami because he didn't offer me the money I wanted. This was not a money deal. If this was a money deal I wouldn't be sitting here. I would have taken the most money. At the end of the day this is a place I wanted to be.
"Miami and Chicago have always been the two cities I've called home. I was in Milwaukee for a brief second. I got an opportunity to be selfish and I took it. And my family is coming along with me. This was a decision solely for me and it has nothing to do with Pat Riley, Micky Arison, Nick Arison and the family. They wanted me back in Miami. I considered it. But at the end of the day this is where I wanted to be and where my heart was telling me to go and it was back home."
Q: Riley said he wasn't involved enough in your recruitment. What did he mean?
"I dealt with Micky Arison, Nick Arison when it came to my contracts the last two years. That's what he means when he said he wasn't involved, meaning he didn't sit at the table. He didn't call or email or text or nothing like that to try to sway me or try to get me back. I guess that's what he meant.
"I dealt with two people I respect in the organization. And like I said, at the end of the day it wasn't about Pat Riley, it wasn't about Micky, it wasn't about Nick. It was about me. I told that to the Arison family in our meeting. They asked me, 'What else? Is there anything else we can do? I said, 'This is a decision I'm going to have to make. And I made that decision.'
"I wasn't looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn't the focus of mine. My focus was making the best decision for my family. He has to make the best decision for the organization, which he has done an amazing job over his tenure there. And we all benefited from it.
"But, this decision was basically mine and I couldn't concern myself or worry about someone reaching out to me or not reaching out to me. That's [wasn't] why I made the decision. It wasn't because he didn't reach out to me. How petty is that? I sat down with the guys who pay the bills. I knew they wanted me to still be there, but ultimately I wanted to be here. And I ultimately made that decision."