Pat Riley says he’s ‘pissed,’ challenges Big Three to return if they’ve ‘got the guts’
A grumpy and combative Pat Riley took to the podium in a lather for his annual end-of-the-season news conference, justifiably annoyed with how the Miami Heat withered under the pressure applied upon them in the NBA Finals by the superior San Antonio Spurs, a team that dispatched Miami with relative ease in five games.
Riley kicked off the presser by succinctly and simply summarizing his current mood as follows: “I’m pissed.” Fair enough.
The Heat team president answered questions with an apparent annoyance — or at least impatience — frequently invoking the phrase, “get a grip,” as he contentiously reacted to the media’s queries regarding the surprising and sudden end to the team’s quest for a third-straight NBA title.
Amid the bluster, Riley promised he will do whatever it takes to make sure the team continues to be a force in the Eastern Conference.
“I’ll do everything I can to retool the team,” said Riley. “But everyone needs to get a grip.”
But Riley saved his most fiery salvo for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, hinting that intestinal fortitude is the only thing standing in the way of the “Big Three” reassembling to make another run at a championship, singling out James as much as anyone due to his up-in-the-air contract status with the organization.
“This stuff is hard. And you got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts. And you don’t find the first door and run out of it,” Riley said.
Riley appeared confident that Wade and Bosh intend to remain with the Heat, and while he challenged James to stay, said that the final say — let’s call it “The Decision, Part Deux” — is entirely up to the King, claiming James “has the right to do whatever he wants to do.”
“He has to get away and think about it,” Riley insisted.
Speaking of the “Big Three” as a whole, Riley seems to believe that the trio had bigger plans in mind when joining forces in South Beach, equating their presumed goals with the ones he set when he came to Miami.
“I didn’t come down here 19 years ago for a quick trip to South Beach and a sun tan. … I don’t think they did either.”
Discussing the possibility of adding another star to create a “Fearsome Foursome” — read: Carmelo Anthony — Riley downplayed the chances, but did not rule it out, either.
“That’s a pipe dream,” he said. “It’s a possibility, but that’s not what we’re thinking about today,” later adding: “I have a level of optimism that there isn’t a better place for players to be than in Miami.”
That may be the case right now — possibly — but ultimately, it all depends on what LeBron James decides to do. If he opts out, South Beach may not have the tempting allure it currently holds. If he stays, sure, but players having a desire to play with LeBron and the Heat being able to make it work are two different things entirely.