It was extremely disappointing for the Miami Heat to get swept in the first round of the playoffs after coming within two games of winning the title last season. Even more surprising, the Los Angeles Lakers, who beat the Heat for the NBA Championship last year, were also eliminated in the first round.
One day after the Lakers were taken out by Phoneix Suns in Game 6, Heat president Pat Riley appeared on Le Batard and Friends show and sent a strong message to superstar LeBron James, who helped bring the Heat two NBA Championships during his four-year tenure with the franchise.
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Riley said that if LeBron ever wanted to return to South Beach, the door is open. “I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call and let me know he’s coming,” Riley said. “I would do that, but I doubt very much if that key.. that key’s rusted now.”
“I wish him nothing but the best,” Riley continued, calling LeBron one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. “And if he ever wanted to come back, then I’ll put a new shiny key under that mat.”
After LeBron joined the Heat in 2010, Miami made four straight appearances in the NBA Finals, winning the title in both 2012 and 2013. In July 2014, LeBron announced he would return to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2018, King James joined the Los Angeles Lakers.
While Riley would love to have LeBron back in Miami, and mentioned how he might get fined by the league for tampering, the 36-year-old former MVP is under contract in Los Angeles through the 2022-23 season.
Riley Spoke About Adding a Third Big Name for Next Season
The Heat would greatly benefit by adding another All-Star to complement the team’s core that is Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. With Victor Oladipo’s future still up in the air, and possibly up to $34 million in cap space if they release both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, Riley could make a blockbuster move to sign a top-tier free agent this summer.
“We’ll see,” Riley said during his annual postseason media conference on June 3, as reported by Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson. “The market will determine a lot of that as we move forward. I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy [Butler] and Bam [Adebayo]; regardless of how they performed in the playoffs, we didn’t make a mistake on those guys.”
“I have a pretty good idea of what we have and where we are headed,” Riley said, “Despite the result of the Milwaukee series, which was bad… We are ready to move forward.”
Despite not having any picks in the year’s draft, the Godfather is not worried. “I guarantee you we’ll probably get a couple of good players out of this draft, somehow.”