Dwyane Wade isn’t sure if he will need off-season knee surgery that could knock him out of the London Olympics but might hire a shooting coach regardless. LeBron James, meanwhile, wants to add another element to his game and admitted he never believed he would be considered among the all-time greats unless he won a championship.
The Heat’s two biggest stars shared those and other nuggets after the team's championship parade and gala Monday.
For Wade, a decision on how to deal with his troublesome left knee could be made as early as this week.
“When everything dies down this week, I will sit down with doctors – those that I trust – and make the best decision for me and my career,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I won’t know until I sit down with Doc and have an MRI and see what’s wrong with my knee and what I have to get done.”
If he needs surgery, Wade said he would not be inclined to go to the Olympics if he cannot play.
Wade admitted the knee caused him discomfort throughout the entire postseason and “I had to go through a lot to play. If people knew what I had to go through just to play, it was crazy. The biggest thing was I had a lot of swelling.
“My left knee is my power knee. It’s my explosion knee. When you are dealing with knee issues, you are dealing with lateral quickness [issues]. I dealt with it. At times, I did great with it. At other times, I didn’t do great with it. But I did what I could to help my team win.”
He said contrary to reports, he did not have his knee drained after his Game 3 clunker against Indiana – when he shot 2 for 13 and scored five points – but before that game. “Very sore,” he said. “It was so much swelling and I wanted some relief.”
Wade said he believes this team will respond to winning a title better than the 2006 team which was swept in the first round by Chicago.
"It’s a different group,” he said. “That time we had a lot of guys who played their whole career to win a championship. And once they did, it was their relief. And guys checked out of it a little bit. Guys came in going through the motions a little bit.
“They were still on a high because they worked their whole careers for it. We had an older team. This team will be fine. Our core is in the prime of their game. I don’t think we’ll have a problem being motivated to compete for another title.”
Wade also said he might work with a shooting coach “for the first time ever” after a postseason in which he shot 31 percent on mid-range jumpers (50 for 163) and 29 percent on three-pointers (10 for 34).
The goal, he said, “is to try to do more in the sense of my three-point game and mid-range game, getting that back. My mechanics aren’t that bad. I don’t have an ugly shot, not one of those Shawn Marion shots. There are certain things in my shot I can change.”
He said a shooting coach could “give me a different look on my shot and where I can get better.” He said he also wants “to continue to get better in the post.”
James, meanwhile, said his thoughts already have turned to next season. “I have thought about what it will take to compete and match this year’s run that we had. I’ve thought about what I’m going to do personally to improve my game. I always love the offseason. I’ll have an opportunity to come back with something new. There is more to add. Not telling you guys yet.”
James offered more self-analysis Monday, noting: “I always wanted to be one of the greats. I knew I couldn’t be one of the greats until I entered that championship room. It’s a relief. I feel happy today to be a championship. It’s been a dream come true for me. This city is amazing.”
After losing in last year’s Finals, James didn’t leave his home for two weeks. In the first four days after winning a title, he has been home only “to shower and get changed again. That’s all.”
A couple of his high-school teammates came down for Game 5, and two others came down to enjoy the celebration with him. “They knew the struggles I’ve been through,” he said. “To celebrate with these guys the last couple days was great.”
Winning a title has renewed his faith in some of life’s lessons.
“There are sayings you hear and you start to wonder if they’re true,” he said. “Like hard work pays off. And good things come to people who are patient. And patience is a virtue. Sometimes you question if it’s actually true, but there’s a truth to it. I was very patient; I tried to work on my game as hard as I possibly could and tried to change my mindset to be more of a leader.”
In the aftermath of winning a title, Wade said James “is more relaxed. It takes a burden off of you. Like they say, the monkey is off your back. It didn’t get off by him riding a coattail. It came off by him going to get it. Losing last year humbled him so much and made him grow up.”
Looking back, James said “the best thing that happened to our team, which was the worst at the time, was [Chris Bosh] getting hurt because it gave [Erik Spoelstra] a lineup change we didn’t think was possible, with [Shane Battier] starting at the 4.
“We always envisioned Shane being a backup 3, when I went out, he would come in. When he started at the 4 and guarded David West and takes one of the bigs out of the paint, that opened up the floor for me and D-Wade and gave us a lineup we so needed and the space that we needed and an unbelievable defensive lineup.”
Said Wade: “The day of you need a Shaquille, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning kind of centers, it’s not here as much. It can be successful as long as we all do our jobs.”
### James will spend the next week appearing on David Letterman’s show on Tuesday and with Wade and Bosh on both "The View" (undetermined day) and with Oprah Winfrey (on her OWN network at 8 p.m. Sunday).
“I’m going to train with the [Olympic] team and after the Olympics, I will take some time off and try to get my legs back under me,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s another long season for us next year. I’ll be ready.”
Note: Please see our last post for highlights from today's championship celebration and what Erik Spoelstra had to say.