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Dwyane Wade signs minimum contract to return to Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade is officially back.

After using a video Sunday night to announce he’s returning for “one last dance,” the Heat announced Tuesday afternoon Wade signed his contract to make his decision official. The 12-time All-Star will play on a one-year, $2.4 million veteran’s minimum deal, according to a league source.

Wade, 36, returns for a 16th and final season with the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2003.

“We are very delighted that Dwyane decided to return,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “I believe that Dwyane can play a big part in us winning, that’s what he is all about. I’m glad he’s back.”

Wade stands 31st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 22,082 points and 50th on the NBA’s all-time assist list with 5,400. He has the second-most blocks by a guard in NBA history behind Michael Jordan.

Wade is also the Heat’s all-time leader in games (876), minutes played (31,027), points (20,473), assists (5,009) and steals (1,433).

“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Wade said in a video posted Sunday night announcing his return. “But it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever had to make…. I asked myself why, why not? I have heard everything from my family to my fans around the world of what I should and shouldn’t do. But I always have done things my way. I got here because I have done things the way I feel is right for me and right for my family.

“What I feel is it’s right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance. For one last season. This is it. I’ve given this game everything that I have, and I’m happy about that. And I am going to give it for one last season everything else I have left. Let’s enjoy it…. Let’s push this young team over the hump and write our own story to the end of this career together. Season 1-6, we call it sweet 16, it’s coming to the arena real soon.”

Wade’s return means the Heat now has 14 players signed to guaranteed contracts and the maximum 20 players signed for camp. That list includes seven wing players signed to guaranteed deals: Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder, Tyler Johnson, Derrick Jones Jr. and Wade.

With Wade signing for the minimum (only $1.5 million of the $2.4 million minimum deal counts against the tax), the Heat is about $6.3 million above the luxury tax threshold. That puts Miami’s luxury tax bill at about $9.7 million, but it has until the end of the regular season to make moves to reduce the tax burden or get completely below the line to avoid paying the penalty.

The Heat has to cut its roster down to 15 before its Oct. 17 season opener against the Orlando Magic. Miami will hold its annual media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday before starting training camp at FAU in Boca Raton on Sept. 25.

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