Agent's funeral led Wade, Riley to reconnect

From ESPN - February 8, 2018

The Miami Heat's trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Dwyane Wade, in the minds of many involved, will go down as the last deal Henry Thomas ever swung.

And it was a homecoming Wade did not see coming -- at least not this way.

Thomas, until his death last month, was the agent for both Wade and Heat captain Udonis Haslem. Thomas had deep relationships with the Heat, through his representation of those two players as well as Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway, Shaun Livingston and others. The Heat even had a moment of silence before a home game on the day that Thomas died.

At Thomas' funeral in Chicago, fences were mended. Wade and Heat president Pat Riley, whose relationship would best be described as strained since Wade left for Chicago in the summer of 2016, hugged. Simple as it sounds, that's all Wade needed to be convinced that his plan for returning to Miami one day would become reality.

"Hank's still doing his job from above," Haslem said.

Less than two weeks later, Wade's back in Miami.

"The hug that we embraced was real and it was all we needed," Wade said of the brief encounter with Riley at the funeral. "That's it. That's all we both needed. I walked away and I felt better about everything, without even getting into anything."

Riley, for his part, said he's over any past problems the two have had.

"For all of you who know me, warriors do not live in the past," Riley told reporters. "Life is now. And the future is waiting. Based on what happened with Dwyane and us the last couple of years, there's no bitterness and no regrets. We have always talked about that. Micky (Arison) is very pro Dwyane. Coach (Erik Spoelstra) is very pro Dwyane. I am. It was a sad day when Dwyane left and it's a beautiful day that he's back."

Wade fully believed for many months that he would eventually return to the Heat, though he figured it would happen in a free-agent deal this coming summer and not on a Thursday afternoon while he was headed into Cleveland's practice facility for a workout with LeBron James.

Then came the text from agent Leon Rose: "Call me 911," he wrote.

"So if you get a text like that and the trade deadline is coming up and you know the team that you are on is going to be very active, you know something is going down with you," Wade said. "And my mind went right to, 'No, it's not Miami. There's no way.' My mind went right to that because I felt like that's the only other place I can be."

He was right.

Wade, who left Miami in 2016 for his hometown of Chicago, is now back in his NBA hometown. He's with the Heat again, getting traded as part of Cleveland's massive roster shake-up Thursday in exchange for a second-round pick in 2024.


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