As LeBron James has plowed through the league in a Heat uniform, laying waste to NBA teams and haters since arriving in the summer of 2010, one nagging "report" has continued to nag at the center of it all: LeBron might opt out of his 2014 Miami Heat contract and go back to Cleveland!
While those in the media reporting this have not a single shred of evidence that this will, in fact, happen outside of them wanting it to happen because what a magical story it would be, one solid unmovable fact has eluded them: Pat Riley still runs things down here.
And he has every intention of making LeBron's Heat a juggernaut for another decade.
Speaking to the media at the team's annual Family Fest on Sunday, Riley made it clear that, since he no longer has to worry about the day-to-day grind of X's and O's and game plans and the pain-in-the-ass minutia that comes with being an NBA head coach, he spends all his time thinking about keeping the Heat core players intact and finding other talented role players in hopes of turning the team into a dynasty.
LeBron, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, are all set to become free agents after the 2014 season and, as the constant media narrative has gone, all are expected to have strong suitors outside of Miami when that time comes.
None more so than the best player in the universe, whom many think will be going back to play in Cleveland because they have Kyrie Irving.
But Riley, who recently came out and defended James against Boston GM Danny Ainge's comments saying that LeBron was a whiner by telling him to "shut the fuck up" via a news release, has other plans.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are still owned by a guy who told the entire world that LeBron was a coward in a letter written in comic sans font.
But yeah, LeBron is totally going back to Cleveland.
"I want to keep bringing in pieces that are going to complement them and hope we can have one of those ten-year rides," Riley said Sunday. "You think about every team, the Celtics in the '60s, the Lakers in the '80s, the Bulls [in the '90s] and then again the Spurs, those guys have been together for eight, nine, ten years. If we can keep this group together for eight, nine, ten years, we're all going to have some fun. Don't ever take it for granted. This is a special time."
And Riley certainly isn't taking the team and its star players for granted. He's actually having fun, even as he systematically destroys the rest of the NBA.
"It's the ultimate dream for me,"' Riley says. "I never realized that I was going to have an opportunity to watch and thoroughly enjoy just the players on the practice court, watching them warming up, watching them playing the game, watch them celebrate, watch them have fun. It's just been an absolute godsend for me at this stage in my career."