Something strange happened as the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs began to creep closer to the start of their NBA Finals rematch — something that I like to view as a necessity for the present, but a plan for the distant future.
For the first time since 2008, Dwyane Wade played as a bona fide reserve. And according to everyone, the move was at the guard’s request because he felt like the team had gotten into a groove in the four games that he missed. So he chose not to “come in and mess that up.”
Although we do not know how long Wade’s voluntary benching will last, it showed another sign of how much he’s willing to sacrifice to keep his team winning. The same way he gave up a few shots a night and his status as the Heat’s main man. Which automatically conjures up thoughts of the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili.
But most people would not expect such a move to come so soon.
Granted both players have seen some of their skills diminish, however when Wade is on the court he’s still giving Miami 19 points, five rebounds and five assists while 54 percent from the field. Yet, there’s no doubt that critics and fans alike will still find a way to have Wade and Ginobili dead and buried — like we saw in the NBA Finals, before they pulled out a few big games.
But if you ask the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, D-Wade’s stats won’t stop the future of his temporary bench role from being discussed:
“This likely will not come to a head until free agency. That’s when Erik Spoelstra, Pat Riley… and Micky Arison will have to decide how to configure the approach going forward (and therefore how to configure the payroll).”
With all due respect, his potential sixth-man spot is a conversation that must be had because Wade admitted to ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez that even he has long term concerns about the knees. However the likelihood Mr. Miami leaving Wade County is little to none.
So why not eventually make him a better version of Ginobili as Chris Bosh continues to look like he’s finally ready to step into the second scorer’s role? Especially if it frees the Heat up to bring in another wing that could help convince LeBron James of a championship rebuild.