They remain America's villains, this selfish Heat team that apologizes too late, celebrates too hard, acts too whiny and generally remains so far down the road of rejection there's no return.

So while there's room to discuss the X's and O's of Udonis Haslem's return to the lineup, there's no stomach for hearing how he landed back with this team in the first place.

There's no talk of egos bridged and double-digit millions sacrificed. There's no discussion of, "The Decisions," unanimous and untelevised.

There's no mention that as Haslem drove to the Heat offices last summer to shake hands with Pat Riley and say good-bye to the Heat staff on his way to Dallas or Denver, he also texted Dwyane Wade.

"You'll always be a brother to me,'' he typed.

Once upon a time, what happened next would be the kind of story that would warm people's hearts, draw fans closer, get repeated in any Haslem story this week and show once and for all just how much this team wants to win.

Because what happened next as Haslem arrived at the Heat office was Wade got on the phone to LeBron James.

"I asked if he'd take less [money] to sign U.D.,'' Wade said.

About $15 million less, to be exact.

"He didn't hesitate,''Wade said.

James didn't know Haslem well. Nor did Chris Bosh, who Wade called next. And perhaps Bosh's sacrifice was bigger. He's doesn't fill a treasure chest in endorsements each year.

"I said to go for it,'' Bosh said. "That's not a small amount of money. But if we were going to come together, we wanted to have enough pieces to win."

Wade already figured he was in for a $17 million cut. These figures didn't come out of the summer air and didn't happen overnight. You can be sure Riley and his salary-cap cruncher, Andy Elisburg, had given them to Wade.