Pat Riley is not going to coach the Miami Heat next season.
No, he is not going to break up the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh either.
Riley had his annual end-of-season meeting with the media Tuesday and sounded like a guy who doesn’t like to lose but realizes the huge strides were made by a team thrown together this season. Here are some quotes, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
Of a possible return to coaching, Riley, 66, said, “No, I’m not going to do that…..”
While Riley would not discuss specifics about Spoelstra’s coaching future, he said, “Definitely we’re going to bring Erik back. As far as any long-term type of situation, that has not been discussed….”
“There was never any thought, never any discussion of moving any of those guys,” he said (of their big three). “I’m happy we have those three together.”
Riley said he could not envision dramatically changing his approach with his roster.
“I don’t think you win championships with young, athletic players that don’t have experience,” he said.
Riley is smart here. Spoelstra got outcoached in the finals, but to see the strides this team made from November to the Eastern Conference Finals is to see a good coaching job. The Heat were playing as a team in the payoffs (at least up until the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the finals). Get a couple better role players to go around them and they will be better.
While the Heat invited the hype — and the scorn that followed — any sober assessment of them on the court is that they improved and became a very good team. One that reached the NBA finals. Tweaks are needed, not overhauls, not coaching changes.
Riley, once again, is making the smart play.