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Wade will play off bench in Heat return, says he's 'over-the-moon excited'

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade's return to the Miami Heat will come as a reserve, coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday morning.

To Wade, just being back to the franchise where he began his career and spent 13 seasons is victory enough, making Friday one of the most emotional days of his 15-season career.

Spoelstra said both Wade and the Heat's other acquisition at Thursday's NBA trade deadline, forward Luke Babbitt, will be available for Friday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We want him to fit in and be a part of this group," Spoelstra said of Wade. "We're still a team built on the strength of our numbers and versatility. You add a player of his caliber to this, he can augment.

"We're not asking him to come in and bail us out."

Of being back, Wade smiled and said, "The one thing I always say about the NBA, you never know what's going to happen. I feel like the timing was perfect.

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"I felt as comfortable today as the day I left. My eyes and heart were always here."

He said he was even more emotional at Thursday's deadline.

"I was definitely shocked," he said. "At the same time, I was over-the-moon excited. So I definitely had a lot of emotions. It's all working through my body right now."

Spoelstra said he views Wade and Babbitt as returning players, with both familiar with the team's approach. Babbitt was with the team last season before leaving in July in free agency to the Atlanta Hawks.

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