The Miami Heat's playoff run came to an end on Tuesday night in a 104-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5. While there was much celebration for the Sixers, the Heat are left to ponder their season and the summer that looms ahead.
A key part of the Heat's offseason and their next moves will be shaped by Dwyane Wade's decision, too. The veteran guard wrapped up his 15th season in the NBA and, after Game 5, was not saying much about whether or not he will play a 16th season come 2018-19.
"That's not my focus," he told reporters on Tuesday. "Fresh off this NBA season, my 15th year, I sit back and think about that. Then I dive and throw myself into my family. They're next on my bucket list, making sure I'm there for them. And when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I'll think about that."
"I love Philly, but ain't gonna be no breaking news here in Philly. I'm sorry. I appreciate [the concern], but let me worry about that later."
Wade once again was in a reserve role in Game 5, logging 11 points (on 4-for-15 shooting), five rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. It was the 177th playoff game in Wade's career, which ranks 19th all-time in NBA history.
In an interview with Miami Heat team broadcaster Eric Reed after Game 5, Wade was also not saying much about what he plans to do next.
Reed: "I remember visiting with you in the Cleveland locker room earlier this season and you said, for the first time in your life, you weren't sure about next season. I know you're not going to make any decisions now, but, what thoughts do you have about your future?"
Wade: "I don't know. I said that at that time because it's true. I don't know going into the summer of my 15th year, turning 37 next year, there's a lot of variables that go into it. You sit down and you make the best decision for you and your family."
Additionally, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wasn't in much of a mood to address the topic, either, after Game 5.
''You're going to make me emotional if we start to think about that or talk about that right now,'' Spoelstra said.
.@MiamiHEAT shooting guard Dwyane Wade talks about the emotions he has of the season ending; Wade also addresses his future of playing basketball. #HEATCulture pic.twitter.com/8CwUWZUbDc- FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 25, 2018
Wade's wife, Gabrielle Union, took to social media to address the topic of her husband's future. On Twitter, she posted:
"I hope this isnt the end, but my God... @DwyaneWade has a career most people dream of. He is a damn legend. An icon. And hes cute #HeatNation"
When Dwyane Wade left the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls as a free agent back in the summer of 2016, the lines of communication between Wade and the front office were fractured. Yet even in leaving South Florida, Wade always felt a kinship to the franchise and said in 2016 "I'll always be a Heat."
The Heat reacquired Wade at the trade deadline this season as the Cleveland Cavaliers underwent a midseason roster overhaul. Shortly after his return to the Heat, Wade told ESPN he wanted to be with the team 'forever' and did not want a farewell tour whenever he does decide to retire.
Wade won three championships with the Heat (2006, '12, '13) and was named Finals MVP in 2006. He has played 876 games for Miami, and is the team's all-time leader in points (20,473), assists (5,009), steals (1,433), field goals made (7,426) and attempted (15,267) and free throws made (5,226) and attempted (6,815). Additionally, he is second only to Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning in blocked shots (774) in Heat history.
To Wade, a chance to return to Miami and play with the Heat again made this season standout.
"It meant a lot. I was very thankful to the guys here that accepted me with open arms the way that they did," Wade told Reed after Game 5. "I was only here for 20 games -- plus the playoffs -- but it felt like I was here longer. I feel like I know those guys and it's like family. I was glad I could come back and be a part of this."