Sports

Riley rues Wade loss

Coaching legend and Heat president takes the blame for star's exit

Miami Heat president Pat Riley admitted that the departure of veteran Dwyane Wade "floored" him and he regretted not taking a more active role in talks to retain the star.

Wade, a three-time champion with Miami, accepted Chicago's two-year, US$47 million ($63m) contract after turning down an offer of two years for US$40 million to return to Miami.

"What happened with Dwyane floored me," Riley told reporters at the team's AmericanAirlines Arena. "I'm not trying to fall on the sword for anybody. I have great regret that I didn't immerse myself in the middle of it.

"My responsibility was to make it happen. Dwyane left and the buck really stops here," he said.

In 855 regular-season games with the Heat, Wade (right) averaged 23.7 points and shot 48.8 per cent.

He averaged 19 points in 74 games last season after missing a combined 48 contests due to various injuries the previous two seasons.

TOUGH SUMMER

The departure of a player who has been their lynchpin was part of a "tough summer" for the club, Riley said.

He said the Heat still aren't sure when veteran centre Chris Bosh might return to action after missing portions of the last two seasons due to the recurrence of blood-clotting issues.

"It's always fluid and it always has been," Riley said, of the 11-time All-Star's health. "I know he wants to play and we would be open to that."

Bosh averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 53 games last season, but didn't play after Feb 9 because of blood clots in his calf.

Bosh had missed the second half of the 2014-15 campaign with blood clots, one of which migrated to his lungs.

But he apparently wanted to play last season - issuing a statement in March noting that his condition in the 2015-16 season had "never been life-threatening".

"It's a sensitive, complicated situation that I can't really speak to medically," Riley said.

"From a basketball standpoint, I've been told we're sort of put on hold here. We know what Chris is capable of, and the last two years, losing him after the All-Star break both years in a row, you just never know what you have or what you could have done, from that standpoint, as a team."

Riley said he hasn't spoken with Wade since he decided to leave the Heat.

Riley has been working on an e-mail to send Wade at some point, and he expects that when they see each other again, a warm embrace will be involved. - AFP.

basketballNBADwyane WadePAT RILEY