MIAMI - Dwyane Wade is back home.
Hours after being traded to the Miami Heat, Wade arrived at Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport on Thursday night and was already preparing for the Heat's next game.
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The team traded a protected second-round draft pick in 2024 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for one of the greatest players in South Florida sports history. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported the deal.
"I've missed them and I know they've missed me," Wade told The Associated Press.
The trade came hours before the NBA's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
"We feel that Dwyane can help our team in so many ways," Heat President Pat Riley said. "It is a beautiful moment for us, for the city and for the fans. All of us embrace it in the manner that we want to win and that's why we brought Dwyane back home. We look forward to having a great end of season run as we fight for the playoffs."
Even Wade's former teammates were shocked hearing the news.
"Are you joking or are you for real?" Hassan Whiteside said. "For real? I thought he was joking. That should be great, man. I love D-Wade."
"I'm happy for him," Heat veteran Udonis Haslem said. "I'm happy for the opportunity to play the game of basketball with him, to compete with him, to lead with him."
Wade's wife, actress Gabrielle Union, tweeted her excitement, saying, "HOME!!!' Let's gooooooooooo HEAT!!!! Can't. Wait."
In his one season in Cleveland, Wade is averaging 11.2 per game coming off the bench. Wade signed with the Cavs in the offseason to reunite with LeBron James, his former Heat teammate.
Drafted by the Heat in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade established himself as a superstar, winning three NBA Championships in 2006, 2012 and 2014. He was named NBA Finals MVP after the Heat defeated Dallas in 2006.
After a tumultuous offseason in 2016 in which James spurned Miami for Cleveland, Wade also left the Heat to sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls. Wade agreed to a buyout with Chicago after one season to join the Cavs.
"Truly happy for my brother," James wrote on Instagram after the deal. "It's how it's suppose (sic) to be. Love you my guy! #WadeCountyBack"
Wade, 36, will return to South Florida, the scene of his greatest achievements in the NBA, having won the league's scoring title in the 2008-09 season while averaging 30.2 points per game.
The Heat expect Wade to be in uniform for Friday's home game against Milwaukee.
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