Sunday, July 22, 2018
Sports

Riley must take the heat for his star's departure

In a flash, Dwyane Wade is gone.

This is not how it was supposed to end, the Miami Heat and their ultimate star falling apart over money.

This is not what free agency was really supposed to mean, that Wade actually was free to choose where he wants to play next season and for how much.

The three-time NBA champion is headed for Chicago, though, leaving his 13-year professional home for the hometown of his less famous youth.

Whether or not the offers from the Heat and the Bulls were similar will come out, but the bottom line is that Chicago was willing to move heaven and earth to add Wade to its roster, while Pat Riley wasn't willing to move Wade where he wanted most to be, which is all the way to the top of the Heat's priority list.

Respect, and tons of it, is due Wade, even now, at this sorest of points. He won a championship at Miami with a heroic NBA Finals MVP performance that matched anything the Big Three ever did as a group. He mentored young Heat players on the culture of sacrifice and discipline that kept Miami relevant, for the most part, since the team drafted Wade out of Marquette in 2003. He set the bar high, and didn't drop it when LeBron James made his own exit to Cleveland a few years back.

Now there's no more to write about Wade and the Heat, unless of course he comes back in a Bulls uniform to knock Miami out of the playoffs some day. Did LeBron tell Dwyane how good that would feel during their European vacation together? Maybe not, but he likely emphasized how important it is for NBA stars to determine their own destinies rather than bowing always to the needs of management.

Now it's up to Riley to manage what's left, which isn't nearly enough to contend against the Cavaliers and other top teams in the East. That $20 million he wanted to pay Wade for next season won't spend as well on anybody else. It's time to start over with Hassan Whiteside, who after one strong season was rewarded by Riley with a $98 million windfall and a four-year promise.

It's time for Riley, who consistently kicked the Wade problem down the road, to kick himself. He was bullheaded about making Wade an offer until Kevin Durant was wooed by the Heat, and now they're both playing elsewhere, making other teams stronger, making Miami appear irrelevant.

Finally, Riley, the godfather of free-agent negotiations, made Dwyane an offer he had the strength to refuse. And that, incredible as it seems to a generation of Heat fans, is that.

Whatever roster the Bulls build around Wade next season probably won't do much more than Miami does without him. It will be a scramble both places, with the Bulls hustling to clear cap space and Riley hunting for any and all available vets who haven't already been snapped up since the free agency period began on July 1.

Could it get worse for the Heat? Sure, Chris Bosh could be unable to contribute much, if anything, next season. As it is, Udonis Haslem is the last piece of Riley's forever family, and even he is unsigned. Pat could overpay Udonis with some of the money that would have gone to Wade, but it's too little too late to reclaim that feeling of kinship and loyalty now.

The Miami Heat team we knew and trusted is no more. The exit door has flown open on that supposedly tight locker room. Dwyane is gone, because he wasn't bluffing like I wanted so much to believe.

He was hurting.

— Palm Beach Post

Comments
For starters: Amid trade rumors, Chris Archer will start in Rays-Marlins finale

For starters: Amid trade rumors, Chris Archer will start in Rays-Marlins finale

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays (49-49), losers of three straight and five of their last six, will look to avoid a sweep today against the Marlins (43-57) at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. In what might be a trade audition, r...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: New faces, same old loss

Rays journal: New faces, same old loss

ST. PETERSBURG — To get a sense of how things are going for the Rays right now, consider that opening day starter Chris Archer was wearing a promotional DJ Kitty head in the dugout and veteran OF Carlos Gomez was playing second base during Satu...
Published: 07/21/18
Kevin Kiermaier frustrated as injuries continue

Kevin Kiermaier frustrated as injuries continue

ST. PETERSBURG — This season has been quite a pain for Rays centerfielder and centerpiece Kevin Kiermaier.A cold bat, a nagging illness, a searing foul ball we'll come back to shortly and a torn thumb ligament that required surgery, all in the ...
Published: 07/21/18
Rowdies gain needed victory

Rowdies gain needed victory

ST. PETERSBURG — Georgi Hristov, the Rowdies' all-time goals leader, extended that mark with his 59th and Junior Flemmings had a goal and two assists to lead a revamped lineup in Saturday's 3-1 win over Indy Eleven at Al Lang Stadium in front o...
Published: 07/21/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, July 22

TODAYAction sportsX Games1 p.m.ABCAutosF1: German Grand Prix9:05 a.m.ESPN2Monster Energy Cup: Foxwoods Resort Casino 3011 p.m.NBCSNNHRA: Mile High Nationals3 p.m.FoxBaseballMarlins at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun, FSF; 620-AMCardinals at Cubs2 p.m.TBSMets at Ya...
Published: 07/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Marlins game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Marlins game

Joey Wendle continues to impress, playing anywhere asked and hitting everywhere. Friday he joined the play-of-the-year race with an amazing glove flip to first. Saturday he was the first Ray with a decent swing off Pablo Lopez, homering in the fourth...
Published: 07/21/18
Rays Tales: Sure is a lot to talk about

Rays Tales: Sure is a lot to talk about

WASHINGTON — There was a lot of talk specific to the Rays at the All-Star Game last week, from commissioner Rob Manfred's strong endorsement of the Ybor stadium plan to Wilson Ramos' rousing ovation from the Washington fans to Blake Snell's imp...
Published: 07/21/18
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome misses cut but has a blast in PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome misses cut but has a blast in PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome did not make the cut in her first PGA Tour event, but she did improve by seven shots in her second round.Lincicome shot 1-under 71 on Saturday at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky., after having to wait an e...
Published: 07/21/18
Another bad look for Rays in 3-2 loss

Another bad look for Rays in 3-2 loss

ST. PETERSBURG – To get a sense of how shorthanded the Rays were by the final innings of Saturday night's game, all you had to do was look at the field and see Carlos Gomez playing second base.It was that kind of night for the Rays, who lost an...
Published: 07/21/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans donates $11,000 to family of shooting victim

Bucs’ Mike Evans donates $11,000 to family of shooting victim

Turns out Donald Trump wasn't the only person that Bucs receiver Mike Evans reached out to on Twitter on Saturday.The Bucs receiver fired back at the president after a tweet suggesting that NFL players who protest during the national anthem should be...
Published: 07/21/18