Jun 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Pat Riley hugs Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) after winning the 2012 NBA championship at the American Airlines Arena. Miami won 121-106. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Riley on Miami Heat: 'We Need To ReTool, Not Rebuild'

The Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have certainly left their mark on the NBA. They’ve been to the Finals in every of their first four seasons together, winning two championships.

However, when LeBron and company walked off the floor against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of this year’s NBA Finals, the future for the trio in Miami seemed bleak — panic was aplenty.

One place it wasn’t, though, was on the face and speech of Miami Heat president Pat Riley when he took center stage on Thursday as he gave his end of the season address in Miami. He was direct, confident and honest. He spoke words that needed to be said, whether or not LeBron or any of the other Big Three wanted to hear them.

Riley wasn’t out to make any fans on Thursday. Instead, he looked to inspire, to motivate and to win back LeBron James.

He talked to LeBron’s well publicized history side of him.

[Transcribed by Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report]

“I think we need to have a perspective about things,” Riley said. “I think everybody needs to get a grip, media, Heat players, organization, all of our fans, we got to get a grip on greatness and on teams. I’ve been here for 45 years in the NBA and I’ve witnessed dynasties, I’ve witnessed great teams. The 80s Lakers, five championships in 12 years. So what does that mean? Seven times they didn’t win. In that run, they didn’t win. You got to deal with it, you got to come back.Celtics were supposed to be a great team in the 80s, 12 years together, three wins, nine losses. The Chicago Bulls, from ’87 to ’98, 11 times in 11 years they won six titles, that’s five times that Michael (Jordan), Scottie (Pippen) and Horace Grant lost. The Lakers, from I think ’96 with Shaq and Kobe to today, like 14 or 15 years, they won five. That means they lost 12 times. The Spurs in 17 years, won five titles. So you add it up. What’s the math there? You know, they lost 12 times.”

He then touched on LeBron’s future “legacy.” LeBron James is an intelligent human being. He knows what’s said about him and he knows what will be said about him — it won’t be pretty if he bolts to loaded team (say if he leaves the Heat for the Clippers). In a way, Riley called out LeBron and set the blueprint — retooling. Not rebuilding.

[Transcribed by Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report]

“This stuff is hard,” Riley said. “And you got to stay together, if you got the guts. And you don’t find the first door and run out of it, if you have an opportunity. This is four years into this era, this team, four Finals, only been done three other times before. And two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a Broadway show. Sort of run out of steam. And we need to retool. We don’t need to rebuild. We need to retool. And that’s what we’re gonna do. I’ve been a leader and a decision-maker, and that’s my level of expertise. And I’ll do everything I can to retool the team. But everybody, just get a grip. This has been a great run.”

With that said, it’s much easier to retool around a player like LeBron James.

The message was clear and it was straightforward. Riley wants LeBron James to remain in Miami. But there’s only so much he can do.

His first line of business was this speech, press conference — indirectly speaking to LeBron’s heart.

Now, he’ll give LeBron space.

The message will marinate. It’ll sink. It should trigger something in LeBron.

Everything that Riley does is well-calculated. He doesn’t waste time, nor words. Every bit of his near-hour speech was directed at one person. After all, LeBron is the one that is going to dictate whether the Heat remain on top of the basketball world, or if they come tumbling down.

Miami, as a city alone, is a very appealing place.

In the next few weeks, LeBron will answer if the Heat are.


Tags: LeBron James Miami Heat NBA NBA Offseason

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