The esteemed Pat Riley, president of the Miami Heat, gave his end-of-the-season press conference on Monday, June 6. “The Godfather” spoke candidly about the team’s unsuccessful run to the NBA Finals and discussed plans for how the franchise can improve next year.
While the former legendary NBA coach addressed media questions about every player on the roster, the 77-year-old also fielded questions about his role with the Heat organization moving forward.
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Riley, who helped lead Miami to its first-ever title in 2006, personally mentored Erik Spoelstra to become the team’s head coach after he stepped down from that role in 2008. As president, Riley oversaw the formation of the “Big 3” era, which brought the franchise two more NBA Championship wins in 2012 and 2013.
As for whether or not he’s thinking about retiring any time, Riley balked at the question asked by Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. “I haven’t given that at all, Ira. So, until someone brings that to me other than the media… I’m 77 years old and right now I can do more push-ups than you can do right now.”
“You wanna go to the mat right now?” Riley adds, before bursting out laughing.
On a more serious note, Riley is still reeling from the Heat’s Game 7 loss to even think about clearing out his office.
“It was a bitter loss. The dragon hasn’t left my body yet from that loss. I was stunned, I was frustrated, I was angry, I was all of those things over the last week and I’m beginning to move on past all of that,” Riley said. “I haven’t given [retirement] any thought at all.”
“I definitely feel an obligation to finish this build,” Riley continued. “So, if we’re three years into this build then I don’t want another three years of just building this team. I think we’re in that window of internal improvement.”
Riley Remains Open to Adding Another Star
Entering the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and then coming within one game of making it to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons, it’s clear the Heat put together a solid roster last summer.
“If we ran it back, we would have a very good team,” Riley said. “But you have to be, I think, very proactive in looking at how you’re going to improve… I think we all realize that you can always use more. Especially when you’ve gone through the season and you analyze the result and it wasn’t as good as you thought it should be.”
While Riley said they had “a great year” and that he’s “really proud” of what the team accomplished this past season, if the right star became available at the right price, he wouldn’t be afraid to jump on it.
“If there’s one out there, throw him to me,” Riley said of adding a second elite shooter to work alongside Jimmy Butler. “You can always use more, but it’s got to be a good fit. But not at the cost of doing something that could be prohibitive. We will look, we will explore. We always do this. It’s part of the business that we chose. Whatever the result brings after the season, you might say we might need another this or another that based on how the league is playing. That goes into the equation.”
Riley Quipped About Heat Players Owing Bam Adebayo Half Their Check
In addition to addressing Kyle Lowry’s weight, his desire to keep P.J. Tucker on the roster, and how Tyler Herro still needs to earn his spot as a starter, Riley took a moment to hype All-Star center Bam Adebayo, who faced a lot of criticism for not being aggressive enough during the postseason:
He’s been asked to do a lot of things as a young player and he has grown into being very efficient at doing those things. It’s almost that learning curve of being a facilitating big, either at the elbow, on handoffs, on pick-and-rolls. He’s always getting somebody open. Duncan [Robinson] should pay him half his check, Tyler should pay him half his check, Max [Strus] should pay him half his check. You don’t realize what he does to get people open.
At age 24, Adebayo still has a lot of room for growth. “I think there’s another level at his age now that we need more consistency in his ability to get good shots, create good shots, and scoring,” Riley said.