'My Eyes And Heart Were Always Here': Excitement Surrounds Dwyane Wade's Return to Miami Heat

The longtime Heat star, making his return after a Thursday trade, met with the media on Friday ahead of his first game.

(Published Friday, Feb. 9, 2018)

What to Know

  • Acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, Dwyane Wade is expected to be available for Friday night’s game.

  • Wade spent the 2016-17 season playing in his hometown with the Bulls before signing with Cleveland this past summer.

Sitting in front of the South Florida media Friday afternoon, Dwyane Wade found himself in a new, yet familiar role: member of the Miami Heat.

Acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, Wade is expected to be available for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks inside the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Wade said his agent sent him a frantic message Thursday afternoon - something new to a player that had never been traded in his career.

“I haven’t gotten a lot of ‘Call Me 911” messages on the trade deadline in my career, so I knew it was something," Wade said with a laugh.

“I wasn’t planning on coming here until late March," Wade said, talking about the next game between Cleveland and Miami. "I always talk to players about never leave a place and throw shade on anyone or anything because you’re not there. You leave with grace and you never know what will happen.”

Within hours of the trade’s announcement and news that Wade is planning to play in the game, ticket prices soared from a low of $35 for upper deck seats to almost $100. As of Friday morning, the highest ticket prices on StubHub ranged from over $1,200 for lower level seats to $8,000 for courtside seats.

"“I’m excited. The fan base that I grew up with and grew up with me, just to be back in that environment," Wade said. "I’m just excited to put on that jersey again and get out there and try not to be too bad."

Wade posted a video to Instagram shortly after landing Thursday night with his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, in which Wade proclaimed his return to “my city, my home, my house.”

Everyone from fans to his “new” teammates are thrilled that the man who won three championships with the Heat – including being named the Finals MVP in 2006 – will be back in his old No. 3 jersey.

“You don’t win three championships and have the career I had here without appreciating the organization. You get out and see how other organizations do things and it’s different," he said. "Today was my first day here and I felt as comfortable today as I did when I left.”

Even team president Pat Riley, who was critical of Wade when he left in free agency for the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2016, said it was a homecoming everyone wanted to see take place.

"It is a beautiful moment for us, for the city and for the fans,” Riley said in a statement Thursday. “All of us embrace it in the manner that we want to win and that's why we brought Dwyane back home.”

Wade was expected to take a physical to complete the trade and clear him to play in Friday’s game – returning him to a franchise where he is the all-time leader in points, games played, assists and several other categories from his first 13 seasons with Miami after being drafted with the fifth overall pick in 2003.

“I watched closely Miami all the time. My eyes and heart were always here, it wasn’t going to go anywhere," said Wade. "I just had a different zip code and jersey on my body.”

Wade spent the 2016-17 season playing in his hometown with the Bulls before signing with Cleveland this past summer. He has averaged over 11 points a game this season – nearly half his career average – and will look to help keep Miami in the playoff race.

Currently, the Heat are seventh place Eastern Conference but are within three games of the third place Cavaliers.