Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dwyane Wade prepares for NBA recruiting role

Dwyane Wade is going to Chicago.

Relax, Heat fans — the trip is just to start thinking in earnest about his future.

After settling four court cases Tuesday and calling it a "huge relief" to have some of his many legal issues now settled, Wade said he finally can afford a bit of time for himself.

So on Wednesday, he'll be back home in Chicago, for both a reunion with his two young sons and to start thinking about what awaits when the NBA free agency window opens July 1.

"No question, I will be able to, even though I've still got the other things to handle," Wade told The Associated Press. "But I will be able to start focusing on my wish list, focusing on the things I want to do for my future. Even though I've still got other things to worry about, this kind of is a big burden off my shoulders. Now I'm able to go to Chicago and focus on something totally different."

Wade said he'll now start thinking of a "wish list" of players he'd like the Miami Heat to consider signing. He told the AP in April he thinks he and Cleveland's LeBron James — another likely free-agent-to-be — would play well together, and it's nearly a lock that the Heat will take a run at trying to woo James away from the Cavaliers.

Wade has spent his entire seven seasons with the Heat, who could pay him about $30 million US more than any other team. He said Tuesday he hasn't called any other potential free agents yet. He will, and soon.

"I've been having to deal with a lot and do a lot," Wade told the AP. "Now, over the next week or two, I'm able to now sit down and say, 'OK, let me call this guy, let me reach out to this guy.' And I'm looking forward to that."

Besides James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer and Dirk Nowitzki almost certainly will hear from the Heat — and quite probably Wade — as well, provided they hit the open market July 1.
Personal matters

Settled on Tuesday were suits related to a $25 million breach-of-contract claim over a failed restaurant venture, as well as another dispute over an agreement to license his name for a charter school and an antitrust suit over potential sales of Wade memorabilia. In Chicago, he still has divorce and custody cases pending.

There's also that little matter of free agency. Wade likely will opt out of his contract with the Heat on June 30 and become a free agent at 12:01 a.m. the following day. He wants to stay in Miami, if the Heat upgrade the roster and take big steps toward becoming an NBA championship contender again.

"Nothing's changed. You know me, the person I am. I'm not going to change," Wade told the AP. "The biggest thing is I want to win and I want to make sure that we can do that here in Miami. If we can't, then I've got to think about another decision, think about something I don't want to do. It's the business side of it.

"But at the end of the day, everyone knows, it's not any secret that I want to be in Miami," Wade added. "It's just steps, a lot of steps, have to be taken to get to that point."

The Heat did not comment Tuesday. They're fully aware of Wade's desires -- and president Pat Riley often has said he wants to build a "dynasty" around Wade, who was the MVP of Miami's run to the 2006 NBA title. The Heat haven't won a playoff series since.

Riley cannot contact free agents — other than Miami's own — until July 1.

The NBA also has rules against players tampering with other players, though the league said last week that not only can that not really be regulated, but that it metes out discipline in only "the most egregious" cases. Wade saying he wants to talk with other stars, many of whom are his friends, "do not meet that standard," the NBA said.

So until July 1, meet the unofficial Heat general manager: Dwyane Wade.

He doesn't mind whatsoever.

"I'm preparing myself for the future," Wade said. "So I'm cool with that. You never know what job I might have after basketball. This might prepare me for my future gig."

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