Let's hope Lebron James stays
The Sports Brothers | 6/26/2014, 9 a.m.
Pat Riley came off like a G in his state of the Heat press conference last week. Most observers were impressed by Riley’s no nonsense approach to his team and his direct challenge to his superstars. Riley went right at Lebron James, who has another big decision pending this off season. For the most part Riley was right on point with everything he spoke about and then there was this issue about the luxury tax where things sort of took a wrong turn there in the eyes of some pundits. Mike Miller was let go through the amnesty program a year ago because of the luxury tax. It became painfully apparent during this past season — and in particular during the NBA Finals —that the Miami Heat really could have used what Miller brought to the table. His hustle, his deadly outside shooting and his versatility. All of that was lost due to the luxury tax. While no one envisioned Dwyane Wade missing 28 regular season games and then having his body fail him down the stretch in these recently concluded playoffs. In hindsight the Heat may have been better served to make that particular move this summer instead of last year when they saved a boatload of money. This year they lost and as the cliché says you get what you pay for.
Riley is going to have to work his magic this time. The Heat’s big 3 all have opt out options are most likely to use them. James exercised his opt out clause yesterday. The Heat will have to convince them all to comeback, again at a discount so Riley can retool the team to use his words. Good luck with that. We have learned over the years to never doubt Riley but if he pulls a rabbit out of the hat this time, well . . . you know. The painful loss to the San Antonio Spurs has shown Heat nation that they will need a lot more than the Big 3 to keep collecting championships. The Spurs had a nice mix of their core veteran guys in Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and youthful athleticism in MVP Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills.
Riley needs to first convince his guys to trust him as attempts to retool not rebuild this team. Then he needs to be at his creative best in surrounding his core guys with younger, more athletic role players who will produce when the lights get bright. It has been done before in the NBA when you look at past dynasties. Then there is the issue of that salary cap and luxury tax to think about.
The Heat have their work cut out for them indeed and we will all be nervously watching as it all starts with priority number one. Keeping James in Miami.