LOS ANGELES • It promises to be an emotional moment in Miami this morning (Singapore time), when former Heat star Dwyane Wade returns for the first time since joining the Chicago Bulls.
The 34-year-old played in Miami for 13 seasons, helping the Heat to three National Basketball Association titles before departing as a free agent for the Bulls in a move that surprised many - including Heat president Pat Riley.
While Wade has been in touch with many of his former team-mates and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, he said on Wednesday that he has not spoken to Riley.
"I was there 13 years," Wade said in Atlanta, where the Heat were facing the Hawks.
"I've seen a lot of players come and go. I know how he (Riley) is. If you're not with him, you're against him. That's just the way he is."
Riley said in July that he was "floored" by Wade's departure and regretted not taking a more active role in talks to retain him. But he has not gotten in touch with him.
However, there remains no bad blood between Wade and the Heat, who plan to play a video tribute to the many magical moments he contributed to the team's history during his tenure.
"It will be exciting, his first game back," Heat guard Goran Dragic of Slovenia said.
"I feel like the fans, they're going to cheer for him. He was with Miami for 13 years, won three championship rings. He deserves that.
"For sure he's going to be all in. He's going to try and have a good game, and it's going to be a fun game."
Miami's Udonis Haslem expects Wade to be business-like in his return. The veteran predicted: "He's not going to try and stick it to the Heat or anything like that. He's going to try to play basketball and put his team in a position to win."
When asked by his new Bulls team-mate Bobby Portis how he would feel on his return to Miami, Wade said: "I don't know what kind of emotions will come over me.
"I don't know how I'll feel. What it'll look like...
"My message to them (the Heat) is what it's been all summer, 'Thank you'."
And today, Miami finally get a chance to say their thanks as well to Wade.
MIAMI V CHICAGO
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