Wade: LeBron and I play well together
Absolutely -- even to Wade.
Speaking after practice in Miami on Saturday, one day before the Heat try to extend their season by forcing a Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against Boston, Wade acknowledged that he's got reason to think he and James would work alongside one another.
"We play well together," Wade said.
Still, he stopped way short of saying the close friends have even talked about the notion of aligning this summer.
Both can become free agents on July 1, a date that looms large for superstars like Wade, James, Toronto's Chris Bosh and just about every team in the NBA.
"Myself, LeBron, Chris, certain guys are in the driver's seat to decide where they want to go," Wade said. "You're not thinking about it. You're not worried about it. But I'm sure they hear it a lot."
Bosh's season is already over. Wade's might end Sunday unless the Heat beat the Celtics, something they've done just once in the last 15 meetings between the teams. James -- almost certain to win his second straight MVP -- and the Cleveland Cavaliers would seem to be the favorites to win the NBA title, and he grew tired of the questions about the summer of 2010 long ago.
Wade gets asked about it all the time.
He has said repeatedly that his preference is to stay in Miami, and the Heat will be able to offer him more money than any other team, just as the Raptors will with Bosh and the Cavaliers with James.
But Wade also makes perfectly clear that he wants to Heat to use the salary cap space they'll have this summer and build the type of team that could contend for what would be his second NBA championship.
And Heat president Pat Riley wants that probably as badly, if not even more so, than Wade does.
"You have to have guys that have the personality that look at it in a bigger picture," Wade said. "You can't have two guys or three guys, whatever you call it, that (all) want it to be, 'This is my show.' You've got to want to share it and you've got to look at guys and say, 'Are these guys team players or individual players?'
"Myself and LeBron are team players. I think we've proven that. I don't think you can say that about everybody."
Wade's approach with the Heat is similar to the one James has with the Cavaliers. Both are obviously dynamic scorers, and both are among the league's best at setting up teammates for points as well -- and in turn, that softens defenses so teams can't constantly throw double-teams their way.
So would he share the spotlight with James, especially since both are used to being the absolute go-to guys on their respective teams?
Wade didn't hesitate.
"I don't have a problem sharing," Wade said. "That's what this summer's about: Sharing. I'm going into the summer with the thoughts that I want to share next year. And whomever those players are, they know that would be my mentality."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press