CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade believes that superteams are "great" for the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls guard made the declaration during a 20-minute, post-practice media session in which he hit on a variety of different topics regarding the past and present of free agency.
"I think certain moments -- it's great," Wade said. "At the end of the day, whether you dislike the Heat or you loved the Heat, you was tuning in to watch the Heat, right? Same thing with Golden State. Whether you dislike what happened with Kevin Durant or whatever the case may be, you're going to tune into watch, whether you want him to succeed or fail.
"Our game is growing. Eyes are on our game. And at the end of the day, me as a player, I just love the fact that players have the ability to control their own destiny.
"That's what we fight for when it comes to lockouts and all these things. We want to be able to do the things we want to be able to do because they can trade us at any moment, they can get rid of us at any moment. So to have the power to be able to do what we did in 2010 -- that felt great. That was a great moment for us. Three young African-American kids got an opportunity to control their own destiny and call their own shots. That's what we wanted. So our game is not taking a hit; our game has only grown."
When the Heat trio was deciding where to play, Wade knew the process was altering the course of basketball history. James, Wade and Bosh went on to lead Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals and won the championship twice.
"We definitely knew it was big," Wade said. "We knew it was real big. Obviously, we knew we had to win to really make it something. But we knew that we were embarking on something big. Obviously, you don't know exactly what it is, and we won't know probably for years from now. But I think we all had an idea that this is about to be huge."
"I'm an old-school guy. I'm a competitor. ... When you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best," Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce, who is embarking on his 19th season, told SiriusXM NBA Radio. "That's always been something that's driven me. Today's day and age, a lot of these guys are friends. That's like if [Larry] Bird decided to go play with Magic [Johnson] or something. These guys, I think the competition makes the game what is.
"And Oklahoma, I felt like, was a contending team. They had Golden State on the ropes [in the Western Conference finals]. I understand when you have great players on losing teams who are tired of losing, struggling in the playoffs every year. You're the lone star. I've been in that position. I could have left Boston years ago, but I stuck it out [and won a championship in 2008]. I just feel like when you're that close, as a competitor, you don't go join the team that just put you out.
"That's just me personally, but we're living in a day and time where there's a new generation. ... I don't think they are as hungry or competitive as my generation was, and that's why you'll probably see more of that."
Wade said that when the NBA lockout occurred in 2011, he took it personally when owners took issue with teams being constructed like the Heat.
"We felt they tried to block us from being able to keep it going," Wade said. "But they didn't do a good job of that -- obviously."
Wade said the criticism the Heat faced early on was a challenge.
"That first year was a tough year for us," he said. "You've got guys who at that time had been in this league, and fans love. Media wasn't too bad on us either. And everything turned because we decided to play together.
"From a competitive standpoint you love that it was sold out every time you go to the arena, but just the things that people had to say about us deciding to play the game of basketball together -- there was a lot of negative attention on that. We took the hit of that."
Wade compared the pressure and expectations the Heat dealt with to what other players have dealt with through the years.
"Just like Allen Iverson took the hit for tattoos and braids and headbands," Wade continued. "Everyone does it now. So we understood what we were embarking on, and that's why it was huge because we knew we were ... I'm not saying we were the first to do it, because I know other teams have tried to, but in the point of where we was name-wise in our career, in the prime of our career, we were the most powerful to do it at that time.
"But hey, we did what we wanted to do and that's what it always came back to us. After that first year, that's when we got back to playing the game, enjoying the game, whatever comes with it. When it became, 'We came together to win championships, let's take care of business.'''
Wade said that the theory that he and Heat president Pat Riley started putting together the plan to make the Miami superteam a reality in 2008 was "stupid."
"That theory is crazy," Wade said. "So I would play for two seasons, and may get hurt, but let's hope that this happens in two years?"
"I wish we was that smart," he added. "Thank you for the credit, thank you for giving us credit of seeing in the future. We knew what the money was going to be like, we knew that the Miami Heat would have money. It makes no sense. How did we know the Heat could get three players? How did we have an idea in 2006, or whenever they said we came up with this plan, that the Miami Heat was going to be able to do this?"
"I never thought that it would be possible," Wade said of teaming up with James. "But when it presented itself, you open it up, you start the conversation, you start looking at it a little different, and that's what happened. So thank everybody for thinking we were that smart, but this is something that kind of happened when it happened."
"I have no idea," he said. "Everything is different. I can't say it will or it won't be. With every team when you add a new piece, when you add new players, it's going to be a moment where you have to adjust to each other. But they're so good, who knows if the growing pains are going to be seen by anybody.
"We can all nitpick at what's going to be different, but at the end of the day you won't know until the end of the season. For us, we had a lot of growing pains, but at the end of the day we were in the Finals in our first year of playing together. We were just great talent. We weren't the team we needed to be [yet], but we were still in the Finals. So you just never know."