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Dwyane Wade on new-look Heat: 'I really love this team'

Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson, Miami Herald on

Published in Basketball

Friday ended with a 15-point road loss to the Lakers, but it was what happened that afternoon that had the Heat smiling at the end of the night.

Retired guard Dwyane Wade, who has relocated to the Los Angeles area with his family, spent time with Heat players and staff and even spoke to his former team hours before tip-off about the importance of upholding the team's culture he helped build during his 16-season career.

With seven new faces on the Heat's roster -- including rookies Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala and Chris Silva -- Wade's message was important.

"Having him just talk to the team, it resonates so much," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said following Friday's loss to the Lakers. "But for the new guys, I mean you can't weigh that in gold. That's priceless. When he talks about Miami Heat culture and what it means to wear a Miami Heat uniform and a legacy of all the players that put in the blood, sweat and tears to build up this culture. When you have the face of the franchise saying that to the young guys, that's a powerful message."

Wade -- who is the Heat's all-time leader in points, games played, minutes played, assists and steals -- continued to spend time with his former teammates and coaches throughout the day. Wearing a red and black outfit to support the Heat, Wade sat a few seats away from the team bench and was in the locker room after the game.

Wade sat alongside Fox Sports Sun Heat announcers Eric Reid and John Crotty for the entire third period and offered his first impressions of the team, which is 6-3.

 

"I love how unselfish the Heat are. I really love this team," Wade said during the broadcast, with the Heat idle until Tuesday's home matchup against the Pistons. "They are going to go through some ups and downs throughout this year. They're so unselfish. They play for each other. It's great to see."

The Heat entered Sunday averaging the seventh-most assists in the league this season at 25 per game, which is tied with the Raptors. Miami's prized offseason acquisition Jimmy Butler, who is close friends with Wade, is averaging a team-high 5.5 assists per game.

"I love JB," Wade said. "I always felt once I got an opportunity to play with him in Chicago, I felt this was a great place for him. He looks right at home, looks comfortable.

"Jimmy Butler is an underrated passer. With Tyler, Nunn, Bam (Adebayo) and Goran (Dragic) coming off the bench, it allowed Jimmy to not put pressure on himself to score 30 a night and be a playmaker. This is the Jimmy Butler I love, out there playing free. He's tough."

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