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Friday, July 27th, 2007 at 1:07 pm  |  91 responses

Catching up with Dwyane Wade

Flash avoids the Miami heat.

By Russ Bengtson

Dwyane Wade hasn’t exactly had the best summer. Sure, he hasn’t been connected with steroids or blood doping or dogfighting or the Mob, but those are extreme examples of “bad.” For Dwyane, things were slightly less dramatic. First there was that first-round sweep by the Bulls, then shoulder and knee surgery, followed by thoughts that the inevitable fallout from the Tim Don-a-gie scandal would hurt him more than any other player. Oh yeah, and having to appear at the ESPYs.

The day I talked to him, in mid-July, it was filming day for the aforementioned ESPYs, and Wade still hadn’t played a minute of basketball since his 24-point, 10-assist Game Four against the Bulls on April 29th (in the interest of fairness, he also had five fouls and seven turnovers that day). It was a cell phone convo (centering mainly on his latest Converse signature shoe which you’ll read more about in the new KICKS) so I couldn’t see him, but for some reason I pictured him in a cream-colored linen suit and a matching fedora. Maybe that means I’ve been watching Miami Vice too much, or maybe I was just thinking of this picture.

Wade’s summers, as usual, are spent in Chicago—“Miami gets too hot for me, man, I gotta get out of there”—although the surgeries prevented him from his usual workout routine with Tim Grover and the rest of the Hoops the Gym crew. “I’m continuing to rehab my shoulder and my knee and I’m getting stronger every day,” he said, “so I’m not worried about that at all. I know I’ve got enough time to get healthy, so it’ll fall back in place.”

Instead, he spent much of the summer in recruiter mode, trying to convince guys like Mo Williams (unsuccessfully, in that case) to join him in Miami. “The only thing I’m worried about is with the East getting better and the West getting better, we’re trying to add a couple pieces to our team, and I’m playin’ like a GM—I’m calling coach every weekend.” He laughed. “I’m staying on top of it and making sure the Miami Heat stays competitive and we’re able to compete for a championship while Shaq is still on my team.”

Superstar thinks his team needs more help, superstar tries to do something about it. Novel thought, that.

“You see the young guys out here, you see other people as you’re goin’ through the summer, and you try and put a bug in some people’s ear that Miami’s a beautiful place to play. And hopefully it comes off that way.”

Smart man. Of course, it doesn’t really matter how good Wade’s salesmanship is. With Shaq still on the books for $20 million per, and a roster chock-full of overpaid and untradeable vets like Antoine Walker and Jason Williams, you can only get so far with the mid-level exception. There’s a good chance that Miami will add no one of consequence this summer.

So the D. Wade abides. He does his charity thing, like the Staples Dream Park Challenge (pictured) in Lauderhill, Florida (where a park got a $25,000 check for a makeover based on online voting), and coming through Zo’s Summer Groove even though he couldn’t play (nice watch). And by the time the season rolls around, he should be good to go (even if he does miss the first week or two).

*cues Cheryl and white hot eboy*

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Did he really say, “Miami Heat stays competitive?” He’s so far up on his grammar that he’s better than most beat writers? I’m terribly impressed.
    (Cue obligatory officiating joke.)

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Russ, I’ve been waiting 3 days for this? Seriously, I thought there was going to be a deluge of sad-sack criticisms and jokes about his wheelchair escapade. And all I get is a pondering from you about what he was wearing while he was on the phone? Very disappointed. :) Seriously, in this summer of non-exictement (player wise)this is all that’s to be expected anyway. I’m pretty sure his comments about winning while Shaq’s still there and the fact he hate’s the summers in MIA, are subtle hints as to his plans when his current deal runs. Riles and Randy better not come here and read this, otherwise the Heat’s braintrust will go off the deep end into Biscayne Bay..

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I have nothing against Dwyane Wade—never have. If my shoulder popped out bad enough to the point I needed surgery I’d probably be crying like a b*tch, too. P.S. His new shoes may prove to be a bit of an acquired taste. They’re, um, interesting.

  • http://slamonline.com mutoni

    wade county. corny but i like it.

  • Steve O

    Are they as gross as Gerlad Green’s new kicks???

  • Steve O

    * Gerald

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Nice crack on Kobe, Russ. Subtle…

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    I think he’s trying to go the early Jordans route. I remember the day the II’s hit the streets, everyone was taking a sh*t on the fake snakeskin. And to this day, they’re still butt ugly.

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Jordan’s not Wade’s, btw.

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    BETCATS, what would be a dumb defense? One similar to how the Mavs played D-Wade in the Finals while en route to having their title stolen?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    White hot their title wasn’t stolen, they gave it away. Haven’t you been listening to Dirk for the past year?

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    CoCo, I don’t understand German. Or Cuban.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    D’s a good dude. I hear ya Russ, the subtle dig at Kobes. I hope when Walker and Williams are off the books, there’ll be a decent free agent or two (c’mon Gil, you’d love Miami–ain’t no hotter here in the summer than D.C. Trust, I grew up there).

  • Richie

    Does anyone have any pics of the new Converse Wade’s?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Cheryl:I love the fact that you’re talking directly to Gil

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Gil read this. Trust.

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Izzo, you never know, Gil might be scrolling through here while getting his legs right so he’s not jumping like Chucky Atkins.

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    As I noted in my latest blog, I think the Heat’s season hinges more on Shaq’s reemergence than D-Wade’s return to health. D-Wade will be fine unless the shoulder suffers another injury. Shaq’s pride took a huge hit and I’m pretty sure he will be looking to quiet the doubters for a last-chance title run.

  • Slim

    As great as D-Wade is, Miami is done. They were extremely lucky to sneak away with a title. I was happy that the old guys like Zo and Payton got their rings and that Wade stepped up like he did. But it’s over. Swept by the Bulls? That’s a curtain call.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Oh shut up, Slim.

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Cheryl, we need to be nice to the doubters. When this time rolls around next year we will be looked upon with the same fervor as Ping Ping. I’m kind of immune to moronic comments here anyone after the kickapop/vicks dog man debaccle. And Slim, I don’t think you’re a moron, just misinformed. With your analogy, that must mean that the Mavs have no chance this year either, correct?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Your onto something there Slim

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    anyone=anyway

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Izzo, you don’t want to catch an eboy nickname too, do you?

  • t-rocc

    “The D-Wade abides…” hahaha, very nice – i like that.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I would actually love one and I don’t actually agree with Slim,the reason I said it was to get a reaction from you or Cheryl and SUCCESS!!
    Consider it me playing the role of Ryan for the day

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Take it from a long-time Lakers fan – Shaq is done. Not saying the Heat are done, because the East is so weak, but we’ve been talking about this alleged Shaq re-emergence for years now. At some point, these nitwits will realize you don’t need to double Shaq anymore. My two cents – he will never threaten to average 20 and 10 again…

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    eboy – what happened to your blog link?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Eboy you need to put the “.” in “.blogspot” on your link

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Hey, you shut up too, Izzo. and I ain’t really mad, I’m having fun with all y’all that don’t believe. Me and Eboy know what’s up. Trust. That, by the way, will be my new sign off–when it fits. ASPOV

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    jbn74sb, you’re bet is pretty solid on the 20/10 thing, but if he was the focal point and not sharing scoring with D-Wade, he’d get those numbers elsewhere as the primary option. By his own admission since he came to the Heat, he has deferred to D-Wade and made it clear that he was not taking on the full bore as team leader as he had in the past.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Co sign on Bodie. Centers dont age gracefully. And at $20mil per, the best thing Shaq could really do for the Heat is retire.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Cheryl look at my above comment that says that I don’t agree with Slim and said that to get a reaction from you and Eboy and it worked

  • http://whitehoteboysworldblogspot.com white hot eboy

    Thanks for the link heads-up.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Stupid blog.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Shaq better retire bfore he gets irelevant.I’m not ready to see him average 2.2 a game

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    It took 30 odd posts to finally start seeing some Heat hate. Cool!!! It’s on like Donkey Kong!

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    **UNRELATED TOPIC WARNING**
    USA just lost to PANAMA in the Pan-American games!!

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    As long as he’s having fun and entertaining us w/quotes, paying big money for Lang’s iPod, break dancing at the All-Star, and generally not taking himself too seriously, hey, I’m glad he’s getting 60mil of Mickey Arisons money. It really is fine with me. Trust.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Cheryl, Trust is pretty thuggish for a lady like yourself. I like it, though. Deceit.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    While his public persona is entertaining, the sad thing is that if Shaq took himself and his profession more seriously, he actually had a chance to be the MDE. Measuring his performance against his salary, as well as his age, as of now, he is not even one of the 5 best centers in the league. Has Miami used their Michael Finley exception yet?

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    jbn74sb, name 4 legit centers better? Center’s not Pf’s like The Robot or Okafor who is listed as the Bobcats center.
    And Cheryl, Sun Sentinel is reporting the Smush signing as finalized. Can he play the Keyon Dooling role off the bench? He would be better off in the East I think.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Smush’s biggest adjustment will be the Heat’s no-headband rule.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I think his biggest adjustment will be moving further down the bench

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    It seems like a desperation signing to me. But I’ll withhold judgement for now. I guess they are banking on JWill to be healthy and Quinn to mature (what?) Anyway, if they can convince GS to let go of Peitrus, then okay.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Cheryl, I think they’re going to wind up with J.C. Navaro too, but he would be an unknown ay this point in NBA terms.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    “Measuring his performance against his salary, as well as his age”

    Under that criteria, another co sign on Bodie.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Max, “measuring the Heat’s list of championship banners against his salary, as well as his age shows the impending result of the Shaq signing as a tremendous financial boost to the horrible economic enviornment surrounding the AAA Arena and the consistent sell-outs that went along with his signing. The rest of the league is still waiting for the next great center to pull the championship banner to their team’s rafter.”

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Smush is an incredible athlete – he just doesn’t know how to play basketball, and seems to lose focus really easily. Other than the injuries, the chemistry problems that he allegedly created in the locker room were a huge part of the Lakers late season meltdown.
    The following centers have better or comparable stats to Shaq, all make less money, and are much younger(use the Yahoo stats by position for partial reference, including the forward/centers): Yao, Dwight, Amare, Eddy Curry, Greg Oden, Jermaine O’Neal, Camby, Chandler, Okur, Krstic. Of that group, which isn’t necessarily exhaustive, I would say that Yao, Dwight, Amare, Curry, and Jermaine are currently better than Shaq, although Jermaine makes too much bank. I would also include Duncan, Okafor, and even perhaps Garnett as centers as well. Looking ahead, taking salary, age, and potential into even heavier account, I would also take Kaman, Al Jefferson, Bynum, and perhaps even Biedrins rather than Shaq. Look at all the stats – Erik Frickin’ Dampier averaged more boards than Shaq, in less minutes.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Wade (and the officiating) deserves about 98% of the credit for the Heat title. Zo closed out all the big games in the Finals…

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Bodie does all my speaking from now on…

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    I will say this though. Was ONE title worth $80,000,000 and who knows how many years of rebuilding?

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    You named three LEGITIMATE centers. Yao, Curry and Dwight. And if you want those guys today, one game for a title, I’ll take the old man and lets see who comes out with the ring from your list. And anyone that just uses stats to measure a players impact on a game obviously A) has necver played the game at a meaningful level or B) never won anything meaningful while playing said games. And using all your listed names as a stepping stone, there is only other champion on that list, so play with the stats while Shaq counts his rings.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    And Zo is more productive for his salary than all of the players you have listed.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Max – as much as I hate to admit it, and even though it was actually $100,000,000, YES. Especially considering that they got rid of Brian Grant’s contract in the process.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    eboy – Right now, for one game, I am not sure that I would argue with you, although Yao, Amare, and Dwight would all be good choices. Especially Yao, because of his FT shooting. Also, I am not suggesting stats are the only way to measure a player – not at all. But it is absolutely ONE of the tools to be used.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    That Grant contract was an albatross. I don’t know about Shaq though, Buss let him go for a reason and this was it. He’s gonna get older and his performance wont match his salary. If Olajuwon and Robinson felt the years, why wouldn’t Shaq considering his haphazard conditioning? Its an albatross. How long will it take the team to recover? I don’t know if I would risk all that if there was another way to win. Stats arent the only way to measure a player, but neither are fantasy one game scenarios. Stats are at least a measure of actual habits and productivity, one game scenarios are pure conjecture. Why would I be so confident in Shaq for one game anyway if he can’t play the fourth quarter? And as the game continues to change there will be an evolution of the center position just as there was for the guard. There will be traditional centers, but they wont be the only definition of the position.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Does anyone else think that payment in sports has gotten out of control?I mean in my opinion no-one in the world is worth $20mil a year.I don’t care how good you are

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    But it’s not fair to place standards on how much players should be making unless were also going to measure how much the actual team is making. Fans sign the checks and as long as were paying then they deserve it, no?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I’m not blaming the players for taking the money,the opposite.Maybe its capatilism in general I have a problem with, but to see people making obscene amounts of money from basketball(owners,GMs and advertisers)doesn’t sit well with me.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Of course it’s out of control. This isn’t even up for debate.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    I guess it doesnt bother me to see them make that money when I think of a guy like Mutumbo who really used his salary for the benefit of his homeland. Or Michael Redd. But when I think of Eddie Griffin…

  • http://thebiglead.com The Big Lead

    Wade will make a nice chicago bull.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I don’t know,the majority don’t though.Mutombo has done great things,can’t be made at him for his money.I can’t even be mad at Shaq’s money(for the most part) after he payed for George Mikan’s funeral.When I see people getting big contracts for medial effort and then flaunting the money and showing no sense of social responsibility.Or the Bob Dylan I’ve been listening to latley is getting to my head

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Are you having Visions of Johanna? Do they keep you up past dawn?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Between singing singing that and “Times they are a changin’” people at work now hate me

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    You should tell them to admit that the waters around them have grown. And accept it soon that theyll be drenched to the bone. If their time to them is worth savin… I feel what youre saying about alot of cats not exercising any social responsibility and most of them not even being worth the money, but they all play in the same league as the good guys. And the great players set the bar for earning potential, everyone else get some of that trickle down action. But all of this seems to boil down one way or another to questions about how everyone spends their money. Fans, Teams, Players, Anyone in a consumer based/capitalistic society, how can we tell anyone with any real conviction what to do with their money? I dont care for some peoples decision making, but they dont need my approval either.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I guess your right.I suppose my comments were working under the assumption that we live in the perfect world where people are more concerned about their self worth than their net worth.This obviously isn’t the case.I feel I should make a Dylan quote…Mothers and Fathers throughout the land,don’t criticize what ya can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    If I’m not mistakin’, I believe that Bob Dylan lyrics were just quoted on slamonline. And I thought slam was a basketball mag/ site for the hip hop generation. Half of these kids who post on here have probably never even heard of him. Unless Puffy has done some horrible remix or something that I missed.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    BODIE:I’m under 21,and just to let you know Puffy Diddy P.Pop has no influence over me

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    “If you think that you’re not better than anyone else, and that no one else is better than you, then you realize that you have nothing to win and nothing to lose…”

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Bob Dylan probably wouldn’t Make The Band.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    No,but he did collaborate with them

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    I’d like to see a Bob Dylan/MF Doom collabo…
    “Old Face Meets Metal Face”?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Or just have him wear the mask

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Nas,Bob Dylan,Talib Kweli,Johnny Cash,Chilli Peppers and Hova ten years ago.I’d actually pay for that album

  • AJ$

    Don’t forget 2 cue me & chukaz

  • Slim

    Cheryl & White Hot,

    I feel your love for your team and I support that… And I agree that anything can happen in the NBA, especially within the leastern conference. However, a number of teams have vastly improved and the Heat aren’t one of them. They just seem to be getting older.
    Or as Dylan would say:

    Feel like a broke-down engine, ain’t got no drivin’ wheel.
    You all been down and lonesome, you know just how a poor man feels.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    The Bob Dylan turn was an entirely unexpected and delightful thing. The times they are a-changin’.

  • Slim

    Next week…Frank Zappa

  • Slim

    and speaking about no drivin’ wheel, congrats to all of the Heat fans for their outstanding pickup in Smush. May he live to be a thousand years old! You guys now clearly own the East.

  • omar

    hey whats up D-Wade i dont really care what other peoples opinion is but in my opinion your one of the sickest players to grace the NBA arenas Im a laker fan but you tear up the lakers keep dunkn on everybody. You break down defenses like a mouse in a maze i give you props and hopefully next year it will be Miami rizing once again unstoppable 3 peace and goodluck

  • http://slamonline.com Russ’ Mom

    Russ just because Wade screwed hard against the wall doesn’t give you a right to be mad at him.

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin _personal

    Izzo, you dirty commie :) I am cool with you, though. and if your team has got at least 10 banners on the raft, you can turn Shaq away, especially if he is not clicking with yor other superstar and demands crazy money. If you have no championship on the other hand, you are smart to take your chances with the dinosaur. It was a win win for both teams. Mitch Kuptchack just blew the Lakers part of the equation, afterwards.

  • John from Miami

    I am staring a “Smush for M.V.P. campaign!” Anyone feel like joining? anyone…. anyone.

  • John from Miami

    starting*

  • http://backcourtink.blogspot.com bootlace

    Are the Heat just recruiting anyone that’s had beef with the Lakers in the past…do they realize thats not the team to beat anymore?

  • john

    forget the heat, the stold smush parker.

  • john

    lakers v.s. heat, the fight for smush parker.
    12-25-07

  • Renegade

    I think the Miami Heat is looking good this season. Although the whole recruiting thing didn’t work out so well for them I don’t see them having too much of a problem with staying competetive. With Shaw and Wade recovering all summer they will deffinelty be one of the better teams in the East.

  • http://arnellweb.de dwanye the best

    I think the heat´s are looking gooooog this year.
    If wade continiu´s to make those shaaaaat´s it will be the best team eveeeeeeeeeeeer.1

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