Dwyane Wade is leaving the Miami Heat after 13 seasons and three NBA championships.
Wade was looking for a three-year deal but didn’t find one. He is said to have been offered two-year deals from the Heat (in the range of $40 million), the Chicago Bulls ($47.5 million) and the Denver Nuggets ($52 million).
On Wednesday, Wade announced his decision to return to his old hometown and chose Chicago.
Heat President Pat Riley told For The Win’s Charlotte Wilder on Thursday that he was “too raw” to actually speak about Wade’s decision to leave, but instead sent the reporter a text message about it.
“SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd!” wrote Riley, who also served as the Heat’s coach during the early portion of Wade’s career, including most of the 2006 championship season.
Riley’s text also contained a “THANK YOU!!!” for Wade, plus “He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS!” and “Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”
Here is Riley’s full text:
“SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! 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. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”
Riley was one of the people Wade mentioned by name in an open letter to Miami, published by the Associated Press on Wednesday night.
“I want to express my gratitude to the Arison family, Pat Riley, Coach Erik Spoelstra, the coaching staff, and the entire Miami Heat organization,” Wade wrote. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support over the years. It has been truly incredible.”