MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade wanted to play in the All-Star Game and wants to be as healthy as possible for the stretch run of the season.
So playing this weekend was deemed an unneeded risk.
The Miami Heat guard announced Tuesday he will not play in the NBA’s midseason showcase, a decision made in an abundance of caution as he continues recovering from his latest hamstring injury. Wade has missed Miami’s last six games and will remain inactive when the Heat close their pre-All-Star schedule in Cleveland on Wednesday night.
“I felt like this was best,” Wade said. “I wasn’t going to play much either way. I think with the circumstances, I think the smartest thing to do is let someone else come in and really enjoy the All-Star experience. … I think I owe it to the Heat fans to at least play in a Heat jersey first than go out there in the All-Star Game and play a couple minutes.”
Later Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed that Atlanta’s Kyle Korver will be Wade’s replacement on the Eastern Conference roster. Wade said he thought Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight, who was born in Miami, would have been a fitting choice.
“I think it’d be fitting for a Miami guy to take an honorary Miami guy’s spot,” Wade said of Knight. “He’s done a great job of leading that team.”
Korver, who was All-Star weekend bound anyway for the 3-point contest, is the record-tying fourth Atlanta player on the East roster. The Hawks are the runaway leaders in the East.
Wade will still go to New York for All-Star weekend, with a number of events planned with business partners including Stance, Li Ning and Hublot. Also on Wade’s schedule: He’ll host an exclusive spades tournament for NBA players and celebrities, plus a bowling event to raise funds for Game Changer, a sports program created by his Wade’s World Foundation and Sandals Foundation to assist youth in underserved communities.
There will also be league matters to tend to, with Wade committed to attend the NBA Players Association meeting.
“I’m going to listen,” Wade said, “and to let my voice be heard.”
The hope from the Heat camp is that Wade will be fully ready to play when the team resumes practice Feb. 18, and that his return to the lineup could come when Miami visits the New York Knicks on Feb. 20.
Wade, a three-time NBA champion, has been an All-Star selection in each of the last 11 seasons, including when he was the game’s MVP in 2010. He has not played since straining his right hamstring Jan. 27, which wasn’t long after he overcame an issue with his left hamstring.
Wednesday’s absence will be his 17th out of 52 Heat games this season. He and fellow All-Star Chris Bosh have played together in only 28 games this year, a number the Heat hope to see get substantially larger after the break.
“We’re going to make to make sure we’re playing our best basketball,” Bosh said. “And hopefully this thing can come together.”
Miami is assured of being no worse than eighth in the East standings when the season resumes next week, and the race for the final two spots on that side of the NBA’s playoff bracket figures to go down to the wire. Milwaukee currently holds the No. 6 spot in the East, 6 1/2 games ahead of Charlotte and Miami.
Four other teams entered Tuesday within three games of the Bobcats and the Heat.
“It’s going to be an interesting second half of the season for us, because we’ve got something to play for,” Wade said. “We’ll see how we respond.”