Pat Riley on Future of Miami Heat's Stars: 'Everybody Needs to Get a Grip'

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 19, 2014


Miami Heat team president Pat Riley held court for a "state of the franchise" press conference Thursday morning.

During the 55-minute chat, which was broadcast live on ESPN and NBATV, Riley hit on everything from the disappointment of Miami's loss in the 2014 NBA Finals to the uncertain road ahead. Somehow, he even had time to work in some words on music and booze, too:

Of course, the abnormal often seemed normal during the discussion. As soon as Riley took his chair, he greeted the room and asked if they wanted to trend something.

Then he provided a trend-worthy sound clip:

After watching his franchise fall three wins shy of a successful three-peat, he might have a reason to be upset.

Unlike the masses, though, he doesn't fear that the sky is falling:

Still, he recognizes the need for improvement. Everyone has, it seems.

"Obviously we would need to get better from every facet, every position," LeBron James told reporters, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

That improvement may not have to be dramatic. Tweaks, not an outright overhaul, may be all that's needed to help the Heat reclaim their spot atop the basketball world:

That said, if the chance to make a big splash should surface, Riley wouldn't shy away from making it:

All of this is assuming, of course, that Miami's Big Three return for the 2014-15 season.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have early termination options in their contracts. The trio could escape from their current deals over the summer, whether to search out greener pastures elsewhere or to stick with Miami on longer, more cap-friendly deals.

Riley said he doesn't plan on doing any recruiting this time around. He felt that effort has already been made:

Then again, there was a recruiting feel throughout the press conference.

He deflected some of the criticisms thrown Wade's way and lobbied for another decade of King James:

He said he'll assume the talented trio will return until proven otherwise and that money won't be an issue in keeping them together:

He also indirectly challenged the competitive side of his players.

He spoke of the dynasties in basketball's past and the fact that those teams didn't win every year. He said that the way clubs handle that adversity can often determine their lasting legacy:

At least one analyst thought there was nothing indirect about these words. In his mind, Riley was using the platform to speak straight to James:

That could very well be the case.

James stands as the biggest question mark in Miami's future. Bosh has said on multiple occasions he does not want to leave.

Riley said he expects Wade to return—and probably not as a sixth man:

James could be the one who needs the most convincing.

Riley's track record can do a lot of that for him, but he'll put his negotiating skills on display when the time is right. For now, he seems content to let his players' competitive juices soak in:

There is plenty of work to be done. Riley must find a way to keep James, Wade and Bosh all thinking realistic championship thoughts.

For now, though, the sky isn't falling. As long as Riley helps everyone keep things in perspective at the negotiating table, the forecast still looks promising in South Beach.