Posts Tagged ‘Pat Riley’

Miami Heat president Pat Riley has changed his tune.

An introspective Riley told Ian Thomsen in the latter’s upcoming book, “The Soul of Basketball,” that LeBron James made the right call by choosing to return to Cleveland after his memorable four-year tour – which included two championships – through South Beach.

“While there may have been some carnage always left behind when he made these kinds of moves, in Cleveland and also in Miami, he did the right thing,” Riley told Thomsen, as relayed by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.

“I just finally came to accept the realization that he and his family said, ‘You’ll never, ever be accepted back in your hometown if you don’t go back to try to win a title. Otherwise someday you’ll go back there and have the scarlet letter on your back. You’ll be the greatest player in the history of mankind, but back there, nobody’s really going to accept you.'”

Having said that, Riley also admitted that he was initially furious when James ditched a dynastic team in Miami to start over in Cleveland.

“I had two to three days of tremendous anger. I was absolutely livid, which I expressed to myself and my closest friends,” Riley said. “My beautiful plan all of a sudden came crashing down. That team in ten years could have won five or six championships. But I get it. I get the whole chronicle of his life.”

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Though Dwyane Wade had a public falling out with the Miami Heat over his contract demands when he was a free agent in the summer of 2016, he mended fences with the franchise – and its president, Pat Riley – shortly before being brought back to Miami in a Wade-approved deadline-day trade earlier this month.

Wade and Riley had already mostly smoothed things over, but it was a gesture Riley made last month, at a time of need for Wade, that facilitated the 36-year-old’s return to the team that drafted him. Henry Thomas – the longtime agent of Wade, Udonis Haslem, and various other Heat players over the years – died in late January. Riley went to Thomas’ funeral, and when he saw Wade, he gave him a hug.

“It sounds simple. But it’s like, sometimes, as a kid, you just need that embrace from your father,” Wade told Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. “Him coming to my agent’s funeral, a very vulnerable time for myself and (Haslem), meant a lot to me. Just that warm embrace meant a lot to me as well. You know the business can get in the way. I understand that. I made the decision I made (to leave), but at the end of the day, I know that guy would run through a brick wall for me. And this organization would. It felt right. I think that had a big thing to do with this trade happening to bring me back at this time.”

Before signing with his hometown Chicago Bulls in 2016, and the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, Wade spent the first 13 years of his Hall of Fame career with the Heat. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, points, assists, steals, win shares, All-Star berths, and just about every other meaningful category.

“I was birthed here,” Wade told Lee.

“Going out to different teams, for me, was something personally, I needed to do,” he added. “But also you get to see you’re missing some things that helped you become the player you have been. The place you can get it back is here.”

Now that he’s back with the Miami HeatDwyane Wade says there will be no other stops in his NBA career.

“This is it for me, guys. I’m going to stay here until I decide to hang it up,” Wade told NBA TV’s Grant Hill on Friday night. “This is home, and I’m so happy to be back.”

After a season-and-a-half detour through the city of his birth with the Chicago Bulls, and 46 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade was traded back to the Heat on Thursday for a future second-round pick. He received a thunderous ovation upon his return to American Airlines Arena on Friday, scoring three points in a Miami win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Wade is as synonymous with the Heat as any player in franchise history, and judging by he and his wife Gabrielle Union’s happiness at the return, it’s clear they never wanted to leave South Florida.

Wade is currently on a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum of $2.3 million. The 36-year-old has slowed over the last few seasons, but can still be productive offensively. An impasse with team president Pat Riley over a new deal drove Wade away from the Heat in 2016.

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Everyone in the league has their own solution to address tanking, but Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s suggestion might be the most entertaining.

Riley wants non-playoff teams to play a tournament for the right to select first overall, instead of having a random lottery with weighted odds determine their fate.

“What I’d like to have is a two-out-of-three lottery playoff … The lottery teams play a tournament for that (No. 1) pick,” Riley told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on Monday.

Riley added, “No more tanking at the end … so play for it. Let’s have a little playoff for the top pick in the draft.”

The current rules reward those at the bottom and penalize teams that come closest to making the playoffs. A franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers that had no aspirations of winning landed the second pick for a third straight year, while a team like the Heat that refused to tank after a 11-30 start got the No. 14 selection following a brilliant finish.

Under Riley’s structure, there would always be an incentive to build the strongest roster possible. The Heat didn’t make the playoffs, but their roster would have ranked as a favorite to win the lottery sweepstakes and take the top pick. At the very least, it would create an entertaining product.

But there are flaws, too, with Riley’s plan. Low playoff seeds might choose to tank into the lottery if they prefer a strong chance at a pick over a small chance in the postseason. This structure might also leave poor franchises without any chance of upward mobility through the draft.

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The Miami Heat announced they have officially waived power forward Chris Bosh. In a move of pure class, the Heat have also decided to retire Bosh’s jersey.

“He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise,” said team president Pat Riley. “The No. 1 will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters.”

By waiving the 33-year-old, the Heat will enter the NBA’s official free agency July 6 with roughly $34 million in available cap space. Removing Bosh from the roster saves roughly $25 million for each of the next two years.

Bosh will, however, receive the remaining $52.1 million on his contract “with insurance paying a substantial chunk of that,” according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The former Toronto Raptor signed with the Heat in 2010 helping initiate their “Big Three” movement alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The trio would go on to win back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

Unfortunately, Bosh’s significant health concerns came to light in 2015. A blood clotting diagnosis midway through the season cut his campaign short after just 44 games.

He would go on to play 53 games the following year, but again saw his season stifled by the diagnosis. This time his health concern was deemed “career-ending.”

Bosh’s most recent NBA action came February 2, 2016 against the Sacramento Kings.

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The Miami Heat, while under the watchful eye of Pat Riley, have always been lauded as a top-flight organization that operates with the utmost class.

But the departure of LeBron James in 2014 put all of Riley’s patience to the test. When James ditched South Beach for a happy homecoming, the Heat president had to be restrained from unleashing a letter similar to the one Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert did when The King signed with Miami.

“I was silent,” Riley recalled of James’ departure in a brilliant tell-all interview with ESPN’s Wright Thompson. “I didn’t say anything. My mind began to just go. And it was over. I was very angry when LeBron left”.

“It was personal for me. It just was. I had a very good friend who talked me off the ledge and kept me from going out there and saying something like Dan Gilbert. I’m glad I didn’t do it.”

Gilbert’s rage-induced comic sans-font letter released in the wake of “The Decision” remains a source of constant ridicule. It exposed the unbalanced power structure in sports, wherein a player exercising his free agency was met with fury and resentment over what was owed in terms of loyalty and sacrifice. Evidently, that episode nearly repeated itself in the case of Riley.

With three years gone by, Riley now understands why James left his side. It’s his conclusion that James went home to clear the “scarlet letter” off his back, as if doing so was his responsibility and not Gilbert’s.

“He went home because he had to go home,” Riley said. “It was time. It was really time for him to go home, in his prime. If he’s ever gonna do anything in Akron again, this was the time to do it. Otherwise, he’d have had a scarlet letter on his back the rest of his whole life.”

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MIAMI – Pat Riley has plenty of thoughts.Resting players is a travesty that the NBA needs to address. Having a head-to-head tiebreaker with Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, despite his Miami Heat playing the Bulls only three times instead of the customary four, was ridiculous. Boilermakers should only be made when shots of high-end tequila are dropped into beers.

All that and more was revealed Wednesday in Riley’s annual end-of-season address, a rambling smorgasbord of comments from the Basketball Hall of Famer and Heat president who just finished his 22nd season with the franchise. And, as per usual, there was a clear sense of optimism for what’s next with the Heat.

”I do love this team,” Riley said. ”And I love what we have built.”

Riley said he was gutted by Miami missing the playoffs this season, one where the Heat won 30 of their final 41 games. Even that wasn’t enough to fully overcome an 11-30 start to the season, and Miami didn’t reach the postseason for the second time in the past three years.

But he clearly wants the core of this team back, including free-agents-to-be like James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington. Johnson and Waiters are going to command significant raises this summer, and Ellington’s option is controlled by the Heat. They are three of the four biggest question marks on the Heat roster going into the offseason, and those questions might have been answered Wednesday.

”We’re going to hopefully make the right selections,” Riley said. ”I hope that Dion and James and the rest of our free agents like it here enough that we’re going to be fair with them and they’re going to be fair with us.”

Riley also addressed his own future, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

”I just want to have a great summer, come back and have a great team and try to win the championship, contend for championships,” Riley said. ”I don’t know how many more non-playoff years I can take or I want to take. I’m not so sure that if we have non-playoff years I even deserve to be here.”