Heat’s ‘Godfather’ Shredded Amid Head-Scratching Kendrick Nunn Trade

Pat Riley Heat

Getty Miami Heat president Pat Riley addresses the crowd during Chris Bosh's 2019 jersey retirement ceremony.

Much to the chagrin of some fans, the Miami Heat have yet to make a move with the NBA‘s February 9 trade deadline looming. Like most league GMs, team president Pat Riley looks to be weighing his options as opposed to pouncing on a deal that could come back to bite him.

That’s not to say, though, that there aren’t things happening around the league. In fact, one of Riley’s former teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, just pulled the trigger on a deal involving a former Heat guard.

As confirmed by announcements from both teams on Monday, the Lakers have sent Kendrick Nunn and a trio of second-round picks to the Washington Wizards in exchange for big man Rui Hachimura.

And while the trade would seem to have little to do with the current goings-on in South Beach, the fact that it even happened — coupled with Nunn’s involvement — was enough to send some among Heat Nation into a frenzied state in its immediate aftermath.

Disgruntled Heat Fans Are Beating Up on Pat Riley Amid Lack of Roster Movement

Why the Wizards were willing to trade Rui Hachimura to Lakers | NBA TodayAdrian Wojnarowski joins Malika Andrews on NBA Today to discuss how the trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards came together, sending Rui Hachimura to LA for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. Ramona Shelburne, Chiney Ogwumike, Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins discuss the impact of the deal 0:00 Woj joins the show…2023-01-23T20:45:15Z

The response on social media to the Nunn-Hachimura swap was swift and significantly unkind from fans who have struggled with Miami’s uneven season to date. Riley’s name even trended on Twitter thanks to commentary like this:

Pat Riley is a fraud.”

“Uhhh can someone wake up Pat Riley…..Hachimura could have been a decent fit next to Bam with that size and shooting.”

“Pat Riley #WashedKing.”


Others meanwhile, were distressed to see Nunn and some second-rounders swapped for a talented former lottery pick after Riley actively pushed him out the door (by rescinding his qualifying offer) sans any kind of return in order to make room for an aging Kyler Lowry.

It’s a mindset perhaps best represented by this tweet:

Clearly, all is not well in the Sunshine State and considering how close the Heat came to returning to the Finals last season, some bad fan vibes are to be expected. However, not everyone was looking to dunk on Riley following the trade’s completion. Scores of Heat fans came to the Hall of Famer’s defense, too.

Riley Continues to Have His Supporters Among Heat Nation

Regardless of what’s happening with the Heat this season, Riley’s place as one of the greatest executives in league history is at least as secure as his incredible coaching legacy is. The Heat’s architect has secured three championships, six Finals appearances and hundreds of wins over the years through personnel maneuvers big and small.

Not everyone has forgotten those things, as evidenced by the following Twitter commentary:

“Pat Riley asleep is still a better GM than 20 Rob Pelinkas. Lets not get it twisted.”

“Pat Riley is trending because a lot of dumb ass fans seen Rui Hachimura get traded to the Lakers. Y’all disrespecting the God father over Rui Hachimura? He wasn’t gonna move the needle for the Heat to contend. Stop being stupid Twitter GMs. This is not 2K.”

The reply here just about sums it up:


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