Miami Heat: Pat Riley is more like Dan Gilbert than many would admit

Miami Heat president Pat Riley (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Miami Heat president Pat Riley (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Is Miami Heat president Pat Riley more like Dan Gilbert than he would like to admit?

Pat Riley volunteered to the media that if Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo would have been healthy for the entirety of the Miami Heat’s NBA finals clash against the Los Angeles Lakers, that the series would have gone seven games, which on face value seems like an innocuous statement.

Riley then proceeded to say that because of those injuries the 2020 championship has an asterisk on it.

In a subsequent interview, he attempted to clarify his remarks by saying the asterisk is on the Heat’s loss not the Lakers’ victory, but separating the two doesn’t seem logical.

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It should come as no surprise that Pat had disagreeable thoughts to convey about LeBron. He has been taking digs at him ever since it became evident that James would not be re-signing with Miami.

After the Heat was blown off the court by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, Riley exclaimed:

"“This stuff is hard and you got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts, and you don’t find the first door and run out of it.”"

This type of hyperbole reeks eerily reminiscent of Dan Gilbert and the vitriol laced letter he wrote addressing James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing with Riley and the Heat.

Interesting thing is, Pat had no qualms with LeBron running out the first door at Quicken Loans Arena. He was more than eager to help escort him out of Cleveland and into Miami, lack of guts withstanding.

Since leaving Miami, LeBron has won two championships, one for his beloved state of Ohio with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and one for the storied Purple and Gold, Los Angeles Lakers, the latter one coming against Dan Gilbert 2.0 himself, (Riley) and the Miami Heat.

Ranking LBJ’s four NBA titles it would be commonplace to surmise that the two captured in Miami are his least significant. It’s inarguable that the Cleveland title ranks first and debatable that it holds more worth than the two in Miami combined.

Simply put, leaving Miami was not a mistake at all, it has been an unequivocal success, just like LeBron leaving Cleveland on both occasions has been. When LeBron’s success aligned with Riley’s all was right with the world, but now that it doesn’t, it’s a different story. Sound familiar?

What was good for the goose (LeBron leaving Cleveland) was not good for the gander (LeBron leaving. Miami). So in turn, Pat Riley decided if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, becoming Dan Gilbert 2.0

Pat’s behavior could be risking his ability to sign top free agents in the future. He was able to corral Jimmy Butler this past offseason, but Dwyane Wade had as much to do with that signing as Riley.

NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo may be looking for a new home in the summer of 2021 and Miami is considered to be a possible landing spot for the reigning two-time MVP if he decides to depart Milwaukee. Maybe it will matter to him?

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Dan Gilbert is an astute businessman and American success story, but being linked to him in this regard is no compliment. The shoe seems to be the right size for Pat Riley and unfortunately, he’s wearing it well.