Pat Riley turned some heads recently when he revealed that he’d welcome a LeBron James return to the Miami Heat if the superstar wanted it. The comments likely weren’t overly serious as there’s been no indication that LeBron wants to leave the Los Angeles Lakers. However, team presidents shouldn’t be making those types of comments about players on other teams.
Riley was just asking to get fined by openly welcoming LeBron back to Miami and that’s exactly what happened. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Heat president has been fined $25,000 for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule.
$25,000 to Riley isn’t going to hurt too much but it’s certainly a reminder that he can’t really talk about opposing players.
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What Exactly Did Riley Say?
The Heat’s season didn’t end on a high note. After making the NBA Finals last year, the team got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks. With the season over, Riley was doing some media and that’s when he made the comments that landed him in trouble with the NBA.
“I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming,” Riley said last week in an interview on Dan Le Batard’s radio show. “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. …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.”
Obviously, LeBron and Riley have a prior relationship so it’s different than if he made these comments about a player like Damian Lillard. However, even mentioning LeBron was likely to get him in trouble regardless of what he said.
Would LeBron Ever Go Back to Miami?
While Riley did get in trouble for his LeBron comments, it does bring up an interesting idea. The superstar clearly had a lot of fun in Miami but as the team got older, he decided to jump ship. Now that he’s older, perhaps going back to the Heat could be appealing.
However, it’s not going to happen. LeBron didn’t only come to Los Angeles to just play basketball. He’s also got his hand in a number of movie projects. Plus, he’s going to be 37-years-old next season. The Lakers are probably going to be his last stop unless his son makes it in the NBA and gets drafted by another team. If that team happens to be the Heat, then maybe a LeBron reunion is possible. If that doesn’t happen, his days in Miami are likely over.