Dwyane Wade had his Bulls introductory press conference today. Some highlights:
• "This is one of those moments for me that is a dream come true. I'm a Chicago guy. I grew up here. When I can sit Indian style and watch the Chicago Bulls win their third championship, I remember looking at this little bitty TV and saying that's what I want to be. I want to be a champion. My dream of becoming an NBA player, here in my home town. This is a place I really wanted to be, a place my heart pulled me towards.
"I know it took a long time to get here. But I am here and I am excited to be here. I can't tell you guys in words what this moment means for me, what this organization, since the day I said I'm coming, the support they've shown, the excitement the city has shown, I can't tell you guys what that means to me. I'm just thankful.
"I came out of the draft in 2003. Had a lot of workouts. Had two workouts with one team - the Chicago Bulls. I was thinking I would be playing for my hometown team. I felt I would be drafted by my hometown team. I had no idea what Miami had up their sleeve."
• "I have no rift with Pat Riley. I have nothing but respect for what he's done in this game. For me, as a player, when you get opportunities to be a free agent, you have to sit and look and see what is the best situation for you. 2010, the best situation for me was to play with Chris and LeBron because I wanted to be able to compete for a championship.
"Last year, I wanted more money. Let's be real. I got more money. This year, the direction and focus for that organization, which I have nothing but respect and love for, was a little different than it has been in the past. My focus and direction was a little different than it had been in years past.
"I told them I wanted to see what the market was for me. At the end of the day, I made the decision. I had a contract offer in Miami I could have took. I decided not to take it. It was my decision to be selfish and to live out a dream of mine. I've brought a lot of excitement to Chicago. It will always be my home. I want to bring some to Chicago while I have a little bit left.
"This was not a money deal for me. At the end of the day, this was the place I wanted to be. This is a decision solely for me and it was nothing to do with Pat Riley. It has nothing to do with Pat Riley and Micky Arison. They wanted me back in Miami. But my heart was telling me to go back home."
• He said when he was a free agent in 2010, "I was 28, in the prime of my career. My first meeting was here back home. I met with a few teams. Once again, I met with the Chicago Bulls twice. There's a notion out there that somehow, someway I used the Bulls for some sort of leverage [back then]. I don't know how a 28 year old in his prime, that can be maxed out anywhere, can use a place for leverage. It was a place I really wanted to be, but I had the opportunity of a lifetime to play with two great players, LeBron and Chris. As hard as Chicago tried, they couldn't put all three of us together.... There were times I envisioned being here."
"I dealt with Micky Arison, Nick Arison when it came to my contracts the last two years. That's what he means when he said he wasn't involved, meaning he didn't sit at the table. He didn't call or email or text or nothing like that to try to sway me or try to get me back. I guess that's what he meant.
"I dealt with two people I respect in the organization. And like I said, at the end of the day it wasn't about Pat Riley, it wasn't about Micky, it wasn't about Nick. It was about me. I told that to the Arison family in our meeting. They asked me, 'What else? Is there anything else we can do? I said, 'This is a decision I'm going to have to make. And I made that decision.'
"I wasn't looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn't the focus of mine. My focus was making the best decision for my family. He has to make the best decision for the organization, which he has done an amazing job over his tenure there. And we all benefited from it.
"But, this decision was basically mine and I couldn't concern myself or worry about someone reaching out to me or not reaching out to me. That's [wasn't] why I made the decision. It wasn't because he didn't reach out to me. How petty is that? I sat down with the guys who pay the bills. I knew they wanted me to still be there, but ultimately I wanted to be here. And I ultimately made that decision."
• "I respect the Miami community. It will always be a part of me."
• Wade said of wife Gabrielle Union: "She just built her dream home, or what we thought in Miami" and Wade told her they need to move. "She supports me." His sons "heard winter and got scared. They're Chicago tough."
• Wade was non-committal when asked if this would be the final stop of his career. He signed a two-year with a second year player option.
• "I remember when Shaquille O'Neal came to Miami, we had no championships at the time. I remember his press conference. I was playing in the Olympics at the time. I remember Shaq said "we're not going to go through this all long. This is Dwyane Wade's team.' This is Jimmy Butler's team. Myself and Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes to this team and this city. We are going to depend on him a lot.
"This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butler called me and told me he wanted me here. At the time, I didn't know.... We all have one common goal, and that's to win. Jimmy Butler will be a better player because of what Rondo brings and because of what I bring."
• "I am a better three-point shooter than my numbers. I showed it in the playoffs."
DOLPHINS DAY 1 NOTES
The Dolphins placed Arian Foster and four others on the physically unable to perform list on Friday, even though Foster had said he is fully healthy after sustaining a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in a game against the Dolphins last October.
Also placed on PUP: cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, running back Damien Williams and linebacker Zach Vigil. Players can be removed off PUP at any point before the regular season.
Foster did not have a setback and the Dolphins expect him back at some point this preseason. “We thought this was a smart decision to make,” coach Adam Gase said. “This is part of the process we’re going through.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said of Foster: “He’s a veteran guy that has had a lot of success. He’s one of the league leaders in drafted guys as far as yards. To have that veteran presence in our backfield is huge. He’s great running the zone read game, which we run here. As a receiver out of the backfield or split out wide, he has a great knack for getting open and having great hands on the outside.”
Howard had knee surgery but is expected back by the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at Seattle. McCain’s issue is nothing serious and he’s expected back in a day or two.
Williams’ conditioning is not where Gase and team officials want it to be. He will be activated when he gets in better shape.
Vigil had back tightness during the latter stages of the offseason program and the Dolphins want to make sure he’s completely fine. He might miss a few days.
Except for Howard, Gase said all of the players on PUP are “day to day” and said it was too early to tell if any of the four would miss any preseason games, with Miami scheduled to open Aug. 12 at the New York Giants.
• In McCain’s absence, Michael Thomas lined up in the slot when the Dolphins went to a nickel package on Friday. When the Dolphins were in base defense, Thomas joined Reshad Jones as the first-team safeties, ahead of Isa Abdul-Quddus.
• Dallas Thomas (left) and Billy Turner (right) were the first-team guards, with first-round pick Laremy Tunsil taking second-team snaps at guard and tackle.
• Earl Mitchell was the first-team tackle opposite Ndamukong Suh… Andre Branch got some first-team work at defensive end, because the Dolphins are somewhat limiting the practice snaps of Cameron Wake coming off a torn Achilles’.
“We just have to be smart with him,” Gase said. “We want him to be able to get through the duration of the season."
• Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Michigan assistant coach and former University of Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch were among those who attended practice.
• Tannehill said Gase “is an expert at pushing guys to reach their potential, and I’m excited to have him…. It’s such a relief to have his confidence and him giving me the freedom to change plays and get us into a good play, that latitude, is only going to help us score more points. He’s a great offensive mind. He’s able to relate to players and motivate players and that’s something we’re excited about having.”
Tannehill said “every day,” Gase “gives me a couple things he wants to work on and think about. Constantly trying to push my buttons, put me in difficult situations. It’s going to pay off.”
• Tannehill, whose wife gave birth to a boy (their first child) last week, called it “such a blessing to see the birth of your child, the love you feel immediately. Really exciting thing to be a dad.”
But amid the responsibilities of being a father for the first time, Tannehill said he “tried to spend a couple hours every day going over the installs [during the past month], spent time with receivers, quizzing them.”
• Per NFL rules, Dolphins players can wear shoulder pads on Sunday and full pads beginning Monday.
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