Pat Riley fined $25,000 by league for LeBron James comment

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A misunderstood question on a streaming broadcast has cost Miami Heat president Pat Riley $25,000.

Riley was on a 24-hour streaming event by Dan Le Batard, and was asked about his comment he would “leave a key out” for Dwyane Wade if the new part-owner of the Utah Jazz wanted to come back to the Heat fold. Riley, however, misunderstood the question and thought it was about still active player LeBron James. What follows is Riley’s answer, via the Miami Herald:

“I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming. I would do that, but I doubt very much that key… That key is rusted now. LeBron, look, he’s one of the greatest of all time, and for four years down here, if we want to go back and remember what those four years were like, it was four years in the Finals, four years of excitement, two world championships with LeBron, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis [Haslem], all of them. It was the best time for the Heat. So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat.”

That is, by the letter of the law, tampering. So the league fined Riley $25,000 for “violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.”

However, that is about the smallest fine the league could give out for the offense, a sign that league officials understood this wasn’t really an attempt by Riley to lure LeBron back. Instead, Riley got a slap on the wrist. It is different from the $75,000 fine Daryl Morey and the 76ers each got for a Tweet about Stephen Curry.