Pat Riley to Big Three: Stay If You Have the Guts
By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | June 20, 2014 12:11 PM EST
Pat Riley was speaking before reporters and cameras when in fact he was addressing his big three.
The Miami Heat, days removed from losing the championship to the San Antonio Spurs in unceremonious champions has now began their offseason plans. Pat Riley, the man behind the annexation of basketball superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, knows that there is fire and fight left in the Heat. The Heat need to retool not rebuild is his mantra for the off-season.
Miami Heat's (L-R) LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen wait to enter the game against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter in Game 5 of their NBA Finals basketball series in San Antonio, Texas, June 15, 2014.
''I think everybody,'' the Heat president said moments after smacking the table to begin the news conference, ''needs to get a grip.''
He began the press conference annoyed and on message with the session lasting almost an hour. The great motivational speaker had no players in sight but it was clear he was telling the message to them through the cameras.
''We have a tremendous opportunity here for long-term success,'' Riley said. ''Don't think we're not going to get beat again, so just get a grip, everybody. That's my message. It's my message to the players, also.''
''You've got to stay together, if you've got the guts,'' Riley said. ''You don't find the first door and run out of it if you have an opportunity. This is four years now into this era, this team. Four finals - it's only been done three other times before - and two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a Broadway show. It sort of ran out of steam. And we need to retool. We don't need to rebuild.''
The question is how to retool?
ESPN.com reports that the Miami Heat has no other players under contract for next season except for Norris Cole. The Big Three of James, Wade and Bosh all have player options they can exercise to seek long term security and some other free agents such as Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen may just depart or retire. Given the status of their players, the Heat President feels there is no need to recruit his own players.
''We're prepared,'' Riley said. ''We've got the main-themed book all written up and it's dependent on whatever the scenario we're presented with on July 1. We've got a lot of room for flexibility. There's a tremendous amount of flexibility depending on what happens. So we're ready.''
He was nostalgic Thursday as he looked way back to the Lakers team he coached in 1984, that he felt choked away a championship that year and came roaring back in the succeeding seasons to capture three titles in the next four years. We went as far as making example of the Miami Heat who fell short in their own hands in the famous Ray Allen shot in Game 6 and came roaring back to dominate them in this year's Finals rematch.
''What happened last year with San Antonio? Did they run? They faced it,'' Riley said. ''They faced it and they came back, and we saw the result. We'll find out what we're made of here. It's not about options. It's not about free agency. It's not about anything. It's about what we have built over four years here.''
Riley also defended his ward, Wade who was the target of much criticism of underperforming in the Finals despite the constant rest during the season, missing 28 games in total.
''For the last 10 years, this has been a Dwyane Wade-driven thing,'' Riley said. ''Now does he have to reinvent himself a little bit? Absolutely.''
Riley can only hope the reinvention will also yield the new contracts or opt-ins of stars Bosh and James who are central to the success of the Heat.
''I'm an Irish guy who believes in big dreams,'' Riley said. ''I'm optimistic. Until that's proven different, I just have a level of optimism that there isn't a better place for players to be than Miami.''
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