Heat star Wade still unsure about new season


MIAMI — Will he or won't he? The Miami Heat still do not know if star shooting guard Dwyane Wade will play a 16th season for the team next season. The reason? Wade himself continues to say he has not made up his mind.

While speaking to reporters Thursday about the upcoming opening of a Miami restaurant, the 12-time All-Star was asked about his plans for the 2018-19 season with Heat training camp scheduled to begin in less than two weeks. And once again, Wade could not confirm a final decision.

"I wish I had an answer for you. I don't have it today," Wade said to reporters, per The Sun-Sentinel. One thing both he and the team are aware of is that Wade will either retire or play for the Heat next season.

"I always said that when I got traded back to Miami, that was it for me," Wade said. "I said it in the first interview and I don't want to pack my bags to go nowhere. My family's here, my kids are growing, so definitely if I'm not wearing a Miami Heat jersey next year, I'll be wearing it under one of my sweaters or jackets."

Wade was reportedly offered a three-year, $25 million contract in July to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, which would have made him the highest-paid player in China. But Wade, 36, says he isn't considering joining the CBA or any other team other than Miami.

The Heat have 19 players on their training camp roster, leaving one spot open for Wade. His longtime teammate Udonis Haslem, who joined the Heat along with Wade in 2003, re-signed with the team last week for the $2.4 million veteran minimum.

Because Wade left the team as a free agent when he joined the Chicago Bulls before the 2016-17 season, the Heat no longer have his "Larry Bird rights" and are restricted in how much the salary cap-strapped team can pay him. The Heat can offer Wade either a $2.4 million veteran-minimum salary for 2018-19 or the team's mid-level exception for $5.3 million.

Celtics F Hayward: 'My goal is

to help us get that banner'

Gordon Hayward said Thursday he's ready for his Boston Celtics debut, take two. Hayward said he's recovered and expects to be on the floor when the Celtics open the regular season against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 16. His 2017-18 season lasted just five minutes, ended by a gruesome leg injury.

"I'm just excited to be out there," Hayward, 28, told reporters at the Auerbach Center on Thursday afternoon. "It's been so much fun to be able to play again and play with my teammates. These past few weeks and the next probably month or so will be good to get back into the game."

Hayward said his recovery and rehabilitation was "the most difficult thing" he's had to do. Now, however, he said he has been playing full-court, 5-on-5 games for two weeks with "pretty much no restrictions."

He said he isn't 100 percent in terms of Basketball ability but is getting there. "The last step for me, as far as from a physical standpoint, is just the little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get," he said. "That's going to take maybe the longest time, but like I said, for the most part, I feel very good."

Hayward said that in his return to 5-on-5 play, he hasn't been afraid to cut or jump. He's looking to regain his timing and rhythm, and he is eager to regain the groove with his teammates. And once the season starts, he doesn't care if he's contributing as a starter or by coming off the bench.

"It's not something I'm worried about at all," Hayward said. "We're worried about winning and putting another banner up. ... We have so much depth, we have so much talent, it doesn't matter who starts for me. My goal is to help us get that banner."

Without Hayward, Boston finished 55-27, good for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics had a 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, but squandered it and lost the series in seven games.

Hayward played seven seasons in Utah before signing a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston in July 2017. With Utah, he had career averages of 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 31.3 minutes per game. — Reuters