Miami Heat president Pat Riley is the man on the hot seat now that LeBron James has opted out with the Miami Heat.
But he knew all of it was coming, the opt out and the pressure . Riley sounded prepared for it at his end of season press conference, challenging LeBron James not to leave the Heat, noting that the Spurs or the Showtime Lakers or the Bird-era Celtics didn’t break up with a Finals loss. Riley released an official statement on Tuesday reacting to LeBron’s decision to opt out.
“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami HEAT to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the Draft and Free Agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”
You can be sure Pat Riley has plans — not one, multiple scenarios — to throw at LeBron about how he plans to improve the team, depending on how much money he has to spend.
Which comes back to how much of a pay cut LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are willing to take. LeBron and Bosh seem open to the idea, Wade is the wild card — he has talked about his importance to the franchise and that he doesn’t think he should take a cut. More Kobe Bryant than Tim Duncan. If he doesn’t make a move, it limits what Pat Riley can do.
And it opens the door wide for LeBron James’ suitors.
We’ll see if Pat Riley has a plan for that, too.