In the wake of LeBron James leaving South Florida for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat President Pat Riley announced Wade's return on Tuesday with a statement that stressed "commitment" and "sacrifice."
It proved to be that. And more.
Just three weeks ago, Wade, 32, had opted out of the two years, $42 million he had on his previous contract to afford the Heat flexibility in NBA free agency. Now that flexibility will extend over the course of his latest contract, with ESPN reporting Wade's new contract pays $15 million this coming season and $16.2 million in 2015-16, more than $10 million less than he would have earned had he remained in his previous deal.
The length is similar to the two-year contract forward Luol Deng took from the Heat over the weekend, with that $20 million agreement also including a player option in the second year.
The approach with Wade and Deng further indicates Riley's intentions to have the Heat as major players in 2016 free agency, when Kevin Durant and several other leading players can be free agents.
"Dwyane," Riley said in a statement, "has been the franchise cornerstone for this team since the day he arrived 11 years ago. He has shown his commitment to the Heat many times over the course of his career and has always been willing to sacrifice in order to help build this team into a champion.
"This time is no different. I am ecstatic to have him back in the fold and I am confident that Dwyane, as always, will be leading this team as we look to contend for NBA championships."
Wade essentially broke the news of his return when he posted a picture on Instagram of himself at AmericanAirlines Arena, with a caption that read, "Home Is Where The Heart Is... My Home,My City,My House..#HeatLifer."
He later issued a statement:
"I am proud to have spent every single day of my career as a member of the Miami Heat and to have brought three championship titles to this great city. I've been here through the good times and the hard times. I have confidence in the Miami Heat organization and the team they are building. To all the Heat fans, in Miami and around the world, I know you will continue to show support for our team."
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade is where he belongs.
"You can't say enough about Dwyane Wade," Spoelstra said at the Las Vegas summer league, where the Heat lost Tuesday to the Washington Wizards. "He's a patriarchal figure with the Miami Heat. It's amazing. You just don't see that in today's day and age, players that are willing to sacrifice to try to build a better team.
"It's not just about him. If you don't have somebody like Dwyane that is the face of the franchise, that is backing up what he says with his actions, then you just don't have a chance to withstand big changes that inevitably happen in this league. He's done it time and time again, and that's what makes him such a special individual in this great league. It's a league of change and instability, and you have somebody who embodies stability and an organization that values stability."
Wade returns in a considerably larger role in the wake of James' departure.
Instead of a Big Three, the Heat will now go with a Twin Tandem approach, with center Chris Bosh last week agreeing to a five-year, $118 million contract.
At the moment, Bosh and just-added power forward Josh McRoberts are positioned with the only Heat contracts that extends beyond the 2016 offseason.
Wade missed 28 games this past regular season, mostly due to ongoing knee issues, before returning with a strong start to the playoffs and then a struggle against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals that the Heat lost 4-1.
Like James, Wade remains one of six players in NBA history with career averages of at least 24 points, five rebounds and five assists.
A 10-time NBA All-Star, having spent all 11 of his seasons with the franchise, Wade is the Heat's all-time leader in points (17,481), field goals made (6,276), free throws made (4,579), double-figure scoring games (691), assists (4,301), steals (1,262), starts (710), games played (719) and minutes played (26,331).