Miami Heat President Pat Riley held his annual State-of-the Heat address Thursday morning. And, as expected, he was a bit on the ornery side after his team got throttled in the NBA Finals last week.
Still, Riley was Riley, showing his resolve and determination as a dynasty-maker, and dropped several great nuggets about the immediate future of the Miami Heat.
"I sent an email to everyone right after the Finals," Riley said. "The storm's going to pass. There's a lot of broken pieces on the ground. We're going to leave them there. And in about ten days, we'll walk around them, and then we'll pick them up."
There are a lot of questions swirling around those broken pieces, chiefly among them: what's going to happen with LeBron James? And is there a possibility the Heat can figure out a way to keep the Big 3 while adding depth to make another go at it.
It was a rather lengthy presser, but here are all the most important things Heat fans should know, coming from the Godfather himself:
-Everybody's Gotta Get A Grip Riley started his presser by citing the multiple failures of the all-time great NBA teams. The 80s Lakers and Celtics, the 2000 Lakers, the Spurs' seventeen year run, and even the Bulls of the 90s -- they were all great championship teams that also had years where they failed and came up short.
"This stuff is hard," Riley said. "And you gotta stay together, if you got the guts. And you don't find the first door and run out of it. This is four years now into this team. Four Finals. It's only been done three times before."
Riley also cited when the media called Magic Johnson "Tragic" after the Lakers lost the 1984 Finals.
"That inspired us. And we came back in 85 and we got em. We got em good."
-The Heat Need to Re-tool, Not Re-Build Again citing NBA history (and repeating that everyone needs to get a grip), Riley pointed to the 1982 Finals when the Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers, only to have Philly come back the next year and getting revenge.
"I've been a leader and decision maker and I'll do everything I can to re-tool. Everybody just get a grip. This has been a great run."
Riley repeated that losing is just as much a part of it as winning.
"This is the time you go home and look at yourself in the mirror, and what are you going to do to make the team better. We have a great opportunity."
-Dwyane Wade Is A Heat For Life When asked about Dwyane Wade's cloudy future as a guy who can no longer dominate, Riley made it clear that Wade is his guy.
"He' is a world champion," Riley said. "He's a Miami Heat for life. He's an icon. He had a couple of bad games in the Finals. But it's time for everybody to take heed of the message sent to us by the Spurs. They went home and looked at themselves."
Riley then said that when the Spurs lost the Finals last year to the Heat, they weren't scrutinized like the Heat are now, and a once-great player like Manu Ginobili wasn't blasted for struggling in those Finals.
"[The Spurs] weren't taken to task," Riley said. "That's not how we're judged in Miami. I'm sorry. We're judged harsher than that. It's unfair that Wade is judged that way. He's not a Johnny-do-nothing. That's an insult. An insult to a guy that's done magic for us since 2003."
Riley did acknowledge that Wade has to reinvent himself a little bit, but so does everyone else on this team.
"It's going to take thoughts, conversations, collaboration, and coming back next year with a great resolve."
-LeBron Has To Get Away For A Little While In talking about LeBron, Riley said that, as of now, James needs to get away and think about things. But Riley is confident the Heat has what it takes to keep giving him what he wants.
LeBron was restless and wanted to get away with his family, Riley says. But they did have a conversation before he left -- though it wasn't a conversation about free agency.
"You don't pander, and you don't punish," Riley said about dealing with his players.
Riley remains optimistic that LeBron -- as well as Wade and Chris Bosh will be back with the Heat.
"They've invested heavily in this city, they've changed, they got married. It isn't just about how a team grows as players. But how you grow in the community. Players are Godfathers to each others' kids. They truly are friends."
-So What's The Selling Point For the Big Three? "I'm not dropping championship rings on the table for those guys, they can drop their own."
(Translation: They came here not champions, they are now champions. You do the math from there)
-No Preference If The Big Three Opt Out Or Not LeBron, Wade and Bosh have the option to opt out of their current contracts to become free agents and/or re-sign with the Heat.
Riley says he has no preference on what they do, as long as they stay in Miami.
"The four years we've had with LeBron we hope will turn to another eight," Riley said.
Riley also made it clear that Micky Arison has never asked any player to take cuts to avoid him having to pay the league's luxury tax.
Riley then added, "However we can keep those guys together. Whatever it takes, we're ready for it. That's my objective."
-The Heat Will Have Options In Free Agency Riley guaranteed that other players want to come play for the Heat.
-So Does That Mean There's A Possibility Of A Big FOUR Forming?
*cough* Carmelo Anthony? *cough*
"That's a pipe dream," Riley said.
And then he added, "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream too."
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