MIAMI: Miami Heat president Pat Riley admitted on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) that the departure of veteran Dwyane Wade “floored” him and he regretted not taking a more active role in talks to retain the star.
Wade, a three-time champion with Miami, accepted Chicago’s two-year, $47 million contract after turning down an offer of two years for $40 million to return to Miami.
“What happened with Dwyane floored me,” Riley told reporters at the team’s AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday. “I’m not trying to fall on the sword for anybody. I have great regret that I didn’t immerse myself in the middle of it.
“My responsibility was to make it happen. Dwyane left and the buck really stops here,” he said.
In 855 regular-season games with the Heat, Wade averaged 23.7 points and shot 48.8 percent.
He averaged 19 points in 74 games last season after missing a combined 48 contests due to various injuries the previous two seasons.
The departure of a player who has been their lynchpin was part of a “tough summer” for the club, Riley said.
He said the Heat still aren’t sure when veteran center Chris Bosh might return to action after missing portions of the last two seasons due to recurrence of blood-clotting issues.
“It’s always fluid and it always has been,” Riley said of the 11-time All-Star’s health. “I know he wants to play and we would be open to that.”
Bosh averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 53 games last season, but didn’t play after February 9 because of blood clots in his calf.
Bosh had missed the second half of the 2014-15 campaign with blood clots, one of which migrated to his lungs.
But he apparently wanted to play last season — issuing a statement in March noting that his condition in the 2015-16 season had “never been life-threatening”.
“It’s a sensitive, complicated situation that I can’t really speak to medically,” Riley said.
“From a basketball standpoint, I’ve been told we’re sort of put on hold here. We know what Chris is capable of, and the last two years, losing him after the All-Star break both years in a row, you just never know what you have or what you could have done, from that standpoint, as a team.”