Tuesday marks the first time since Dwyane Wade was traded back to Miami that the Heat and Cavs will play each other. While that would usually be seen as some sort of opportunity for "revenge," Tuesday evening's contest doesn't sound like it will see an ounce of bad blood spilled.
We say that because, on Tuesday, in anticipation of the otherwise routine match-up, ESPN's Dave McMenamin revealed new details on the transaction that paired Wade with the organization he probably never should've left. According to McMenamin, Miami and Cleveland began conversing about a potential swap roughly a month before the trigger was pulled. During those conversations Wade's name came up, and was written down for future reference. As McMenamin put it:
[Cavs GM Koby] Altman thought back to a conversation he had with Heat general manager Andy Elisburg three or four weeks before the trade deadline, sources said. Elisburg made his way through the Cavs' roster alphabetically, rattling off the names he could see the Heat making an offer for. When he got toward the back end of the Cavs' roster -- W is the fourth-to-last letter, after all -- he said something to the effect of, "Yeah, and you have a 2-guard that we have a little bit of history with." Altman told Elisburg at the time that he was contemplating a major overhaul, which could change Wade's role on the team. Elisburg filed the information away, informing Heat president Pat Riley of the dialogue.
The Cavs sending Channing Frye and disgruntled point guard Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles while facilitating a three-way trade that involved the Jazz and Kings that opened up the door to unload Wade (due to a reduced role brought about by those transactions). From there it was an easy choice for Wade to choose a return to the Heat:
With the Heat on board, Altman had two people to talk to: first James, then Wade.
Much as Lue approached whether Wade would start to begin the season, Altman wanted to leave it up to Wade: stay in Cleveland with a reduced role or return to the franchise that drafted him and made him the star he is today.
"Absolutely. It should be his decision," James told Altman, according to sources.
Wade understood the direction the Cavs were going and appreciated the option. Miami was an easy choice.
LeBron seemed bummed by Wade's exit, but also seemed to be of the common idea that Wade probably should've stayed in South Beach.
"I mean, I hated to see him go. I still do. I still do," he's quoted as saying. "So, my emotions was mixed because that's my guy and I didn't want him to go but, I mean, listen, I felt like that's where he belongs. I felt like that's where his heart has always been, even in the one year in Chicago.
"I just felt like that's where he belonged. I mean, you want to be as happy as you can when you're in this profession, and I felt like Miami is the best place that creates happiness for him. So, I hated to see him go, I wish he was still here, but I understand. That's why there's no hard feelings."
Of course McMenamin's piece is almost entirely about Wade and LeBron's friendship. Go read it over at ESPN.