Pat Riley has had enough.
During a season-ending press conference Thursday, the Miami Heat president let it be known that he’s irate about the way the media and fans have speculated about the Big Three’s future in South Beach following the Heat’s five-game NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Making it clear that the Heat need to "retool" and not "rebuild," Riley feels like the team and organization isn’t getting enough respect for four trips to the NBA Finals in four years — two of which resulted in NBA championships. In addition, he said, “I don’t think we need to recruit Dwyane [Wade], LeBron [James], and Chris [Bosh] again,” perhaps subliminally informing the Heat’s Big Three — especially King James — that their mission is far from complete.
“This stuff is hard. You’ve got to stay together if you’ve got the guts and you don’t find the first door and run out of it,” Riley told members of the media, as reported by Sports Illustrated. “This is four years now into this era, this team. Four Finals. It’s only been done three other times before. Two championships. From day one, to the end, it was like a Broadway show. It sort of ran out of steam. We need to retool, we don’t need to rebuild. We need to retool, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I didn’t come down here 19 years ago for a quick trip to South Beach and a sun tan, I can guarantee you that,” Riley added. “And I don’t think they did either. I think all of those guys who have come here have gotten exactly what they wanted: the best competition, on the biggest stage, and we won two of them.”
Riley also commented that he’d be surprised if Wade wasn’t back in Miami next year, although he didn’t comment about James. Earlier this week, James did say that he’d decide whether or not to opt out of his Heat contract this summer after taking a family vacation. All being said, with some tinkering, Riley believes Miami can be right back in the NBA Finals again…and this time, win it all.
“It’s up to us and myself to be able to go out and operate within these [salary cap] rules, to retool and complement those players,” Riley said. “We’ve been able to do that the last couple of years. There’s no reason to think that we can’t again. I guarantee you there will be other players who want to come down here. Who they are, we’ll find out.”
Although rumors surfaced of the Heat expanding the Big Three into the Big Four via landing New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, Riley dismissed the notion as a “pipe dream.” Then again, landing the Big Three in 2010 was a "pipe dream" too.
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(Photo: Al Diaz, The Miami Herald/AP Photo)