MIAMI (AP) â€” Send dessert to Dwyane Wade’s table or start a standing ovation. Don’t ask for a car or display your D-Wade tattoo.
These, and other tips for Miami Heat fans, are now available on a website – www.wewantwade.com – unveiled Thursday by the team with hopes of keeping the 2006 NBA finals MVP in South Florida for years to come.
“We want to show Wade the love,” the website says.
Wade learned of the Heat’s web campaign Thursday morning, shortly after the team’s marketing department launched the new site – which was already getting posts from fans within a few minutes of going live.
“I thought it was hilarious,” Wade said. “But I appreciate it. I do, I really do.”
The former league scoring champion will exercise his right to become a free agent, and he’ll be clear to talk with other teams at 12:01 a.m. July 1. He has said many times that his preference is to stay with the Heat, which can offer him a deal for six years and worth about $127 million – more years and more money than any other club could offer.
Signing him, of course, is the Heat top priority for the offseason.
The website touts itself as the “place to show your support for our MV3 and to help keep Dwyane Wade in Wade County! … And we’ll be adding things right up to the start of the free agency period, so check back often for the latest D.Wade info, events, downloads and more.”
Wade said he didn’t expect a website in his honor, but has learned not to be surprised by any approach when it comes to his future. Everywhere he goes, he’s asked by fans where he’ll play next season – and, more often than not, begged to sign in their city.
“You get a lot of people respectful of you and you understand that they want you to be in the city – whatever city that is,” Wade said. “They express that opinion no matter where you go. I’ll never be surprised of anyone who says it.”
The site was an instant hit: The Heat said it was overwhelmed quickly after launch, and the team said it would be switching to larger servers to handle the interest.
Free agency is only one significant issue for Wade this summer.
He’s embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody case in Chicago, and in Miami, is facing a lawsuit brought by former partners in a failed restaurant deal. Wade is also seeking damages from those partners over use of his likeness, and other suits involving plans to sell memorabilia and attaching his name to a charter school are pending.
“I’ve got to continue to try to live my life and enjoy my life, but at the same time, knowing and understanding it’s a trying time in my life,” Wade said. “For me, this summer right now, it’s all about my kids and my family, trying to spend time with my loved ones and getting my mind away from everything that’s going on.”
That’s why little bits of levity – like this new Heat website, or even the reaction in Chicago about what he wore to a hearing there involving the divorce and custody cases earlier this week – are welcomed by Wade.
And this won’t be the only website designed to woo free agents. Not even close.
Even though the NBA conference finals haven’t even started, plenty of eyes are already on the looming offseason personnel bonanza, when Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are expected to headline the deepest crop of superstar free agents in league history.
In New York, The Daily News has launched www.getlebron.com – replete with a photo of James in Knicks colors. On Facebook, there’s a page called “The Official Pitch: Keep LeBron James in Cleveland 2010,” and Bosh created a stir in Toronto and around the league last month by asking his Twitter followers “Should I stay or should I go?”
How scrutinized is every hint, perceived or otherwise? It became big news in Chicago on Monday when Wade – who will likely be courted by the Bulls this summer – showed up for court in red and black.
Red and black are Bulls colors.
“I thought it was Heat colors,” Wade said. “Always looking for an angle, everyone. I just laugh at it and keep it moving.