Wade will listen to overseas options, just in case

Dwyane Wade is ready to play basketball. Preferably in

Miami.

And if that’s not an option, he’s preparing himself to start

looking elsewhere.

Wade said Thursday that he has authorized agent Henry Thomas to

listen to any viable offers that may be out there for him to play

internationally this season – with the caveat that, until such time

as all hope for an NBA season is gone, he won’t be signing any deal

with any other club.

”I told my agent to just take a peek,” Wade said in an

interview with The Associated Press. ”It’s time. There’s a

possibility that we’re not going to have a season. We’ve got to see

what’s out there, what the possibilities are. I want to play

competitive basketball this year. I’ve missed a year of basketball

in my life before. I’m not trying to miss another. I don’t have too

many years of basketball left.”

Wade sat out his first season of college basketball at Marquette

while getting academics and eligibility issues in order. This,

obviously, is a different sort of issue.

It’s not like he’s lost all hope for a season – not even close,

actually. Wade said he still has some hope that the season can

begin on Christmas, though he acknowledges that seems less than

likely.

”I’m with the majority. When everybody’s ready to go, I’m ready

to go,” Wade said. ”I’m ready to stick with our guns if that’s

what we decide to do. The message to fans doesn’t change from what

I’ve said: It’s hard for players to say that we’re sorry for this,

because people say that we’re not. This is our job and you see what

we have to do. No one wants to be on the court more than the

players.”

He was speaking Thursday between shooting takes of a new

Gatorade ad campaign that launches early next year. It was the

140th day of the lockout, and as he spoke, he looked out a

floor-to-ceiling glass window not far from the AmericanAirlines

Arena – the building where the Heat play their home games.

The 2006 NBA finals MVP was back in that arena Tuesday night, as

a guest for a concert featuring Jay-Z and Kanye West. It was his

first time in the building since the Heat wrapped up their

end-of-season business after losing the NBA finals to the Dallas

Mavericks. Once the lockout started when the existing labor deal

expired June 30, teams have not been allowed to contact players,

nor give them access to their facilities.

So when Wade went there Tuesday, he couldn’t venture anywhere

near the Heat locker room.

”I went through an entrance I’d never gone through before,”

Wade said. ”It was weird. Very weird, walking into that arena. It

was different staff, then I saw some people I knew, but it was

weird. It’s just unfortunate that it’s got to be like that. It’s

like you’re a criminal, like you can’t walk into a place because

you’ve done something wrong. I won a championship here. I’d like to

win another one.”

Wade has stayed busy during the lockout, with tons of

work-related travel and continually trying to build his business

brand. He just got back from Australia, flies to Oregon for

meetings Friday, has more work lined up next week and is working

all that around the demands of being a full-time dad to his two

sons, neither of whom seem to mind that the Heat aren’t playing

games right now.

”They like having me around,” Wade said.

So his two biggest fans are taken care of. It’s the other ones

that Wade worries about.

He’s an endorser for several products, Nike’s Jordan Brand

included, which might seem a bit awkward these days given the

brand’s namesake – Michael Jordan – is one of the NBA owners on the

opposite side of the negotiating table from where players are. Wade

said it’s not necessarily awkward for him, but does worry about

what the lockout may do to his business dealings.

”I’ve built a fan base and I’ve built a brand, but obviously

than there’s nothing bigger than the basketball court, that

stage,” Wade said. ”There are things that I’ve got to worry about

that people don’t necessarily understand or probably don’t care

about, but it’s one of the things that I have to care about.”

Foremost, though, he wants to play. In Miami. And soon.

Wade said he didn’t know what the league’s player

representatives were going to say on Monday before the news

conference that revealed talks between them and the NBA had broken

down and the union was beginning to transition into a trade

organization with hopes of finding a deal another way.

He’s anxious and concerned, for certain. He’s planning to spend

Thanksgiving with longtime girlfriend Gabrielle Union and her

family. For Christmas – one of his favorite days to watch NBA games

– he’d like Union’s family to join his family. And if the NBA says

”game on,” he’d be more than happy to re-do his holiday

plans.

”Hopefully,” Wade said. ”Hopefully. You never know. They

haven’t said `No games on Christmas’ yet. So I still can say

there’s hope.”

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