MIAMI -- The chant started slowly, from the practice court, down the stairwell, to the locker room.
"D-Wade! D-Wade! D-Wade!"
These were not fans, groupies, autograph seekers. These were NBA players. Several of whom were former teammates. Grown men.
The NBA trading deadline can mean many things for many teams. For the Miami Heat, it meant closure Thursday, a franchise icon back to where he lifted South Florida to NBA championship heights three fold.
Dwyane Wade is back with the Miami Heat.
"He put this franchise on his back and we need him," guard Goran Dragic said, like so many Heat players, initially disbelieving until the trade for a 2020 second-round pick was confirmed. "It will be awesome to bring our captain back."
It was just two summers ago, amid a contentious free-agency impasse that Wade left the Heat, after his first 13 NBA seasons, for his hometown Chicago Bulls.
Then, amid a rebuild in Chicago, Wade moved on to the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason, to pair with former Heat championship teammate LeBron James.
But with the Cavaliers struggling to regain the chemistry that produced trips to the past three NBA Finals, and with Cleveland stocking up on perimeter depth at Thursday's deadline, it became apparent that Wade faced a future of limited playing time in Cleveland.
That's when Wade, in consultation with the Cavaliers, agreed to move on. The Heat was the most logical landing spot, with Wade still having his South Florida home and his son playing basketball at American Heritage High School in Plantation.