Pat Riley Says He Will Build Another Championship Team in Wake of Losing LeBron James
Pat Riley ain't got time to bleed.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday if he was hurt by LeBron James' departure for Cleveland, Riley answered, "I don't hurt."
But it would seem that Riley didn't see it coming. While meeting with the press as the Miami Heat officially re-signed Chris Bosh, Riley said James gave no indication he intended to go back to the Cavaliers, especially after meeting with LeBron in Las Vegas.
"There wasn't anything in that meeting that told me that wasn't going to happen," Riley said via the Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman.
Riley also said that the team's entire strategy during the off season was to sell the notion of playing with LeBron to potential free agents. He even told LeBron of this strategy, adding that the now Cavaliers star never told him it was a bad idea.
"I went in with the notion that he was coming back," Riley said. "So I was selling it to players. I let him know that prior to free agency, that was the direction I was going. He never said to me, 'Don't do that.' I don't think I was misled. But I don't think I was encouraged either. That's business."
Riley also admitted that he approached Kincks star Carmelo Anthony's people once LeBron left. But, as Riley says, "We were a little bit late to that party."
Overall, Riley called LeBron's departure a tough blow.
But being bummed out over LeBron leaving didn't last long. Riley went into full Riley mode and said he's determined to prove the Heat aren't down for the count.
He's using the loss of the best player in the world as motivation to make the Heat an organization that wins titles every decade. "It's fired me up," he said. "I don't like to get beat at anything. I want this team to be as competitive as it has ever been. I want our fans to know they will see a great team every night. Every now and then you have a chance to build a generational team, where you know that team can be together 10 to 12 years. ... That has been broken. We're going to try to make it another generational team. That's what my objective is."
As for this season, Riley says the team would like to add another wing man who can play versatile roles, as well as possibly another big man. But, he says, the team isn't in any kind of rush. For now, they're armed with a pretty solid foundation of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, and Mario Chalmers as well as Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, and first-round pick Shabazz Napier.
And, in a wide-open Eastern Conference, the Heat are expected to be a playoff contender. Riley is determined to remind the basketball world that he's built championship teams with LeBron and without LeBron.
"We are going to build another championship team, and that's it. After 45 years of being in this league, I've been around 15 transcendent players that walked out the door ... and you move on. Sometimes things happen to you that you don't like, but you've got to move on."
Right on, Godfather.
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