The Free Agent Bonanza of 2010 hasn’t even begun but it’s the biggest news there is right now.
The Boston Celtics are currently playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup, and the Phoenix Suns will be taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of their Western Conference Semi-Finals matchup. Both series look to be incredible, knock-down, drag-out affairs that could go seven games.
Yet, both have been upstaged tonight by a story coming out of Miami.
Apparently Pat Riley, yes the Pat Riley, the President of the Miami Heat, has re-upped his contract. What’s more important than that (for that alone would be nothing but a minor blip on the radar), is the fact Riley won’t rule out coaching the Heat next season.
Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, Riles did couch the amazing news in the form of the following statement, “I’ll do whatever is in the best interest of building the team here. Period. Whatever it takes, OK? I’ll let you fill in the blanks. … If some free agent were to say ‘I will come here but you must do this,’ well, hell, if that happens that day, then I might have to give it some thought.”
You can bet that thought process would take less time than a little. Riley would be telling that potential free agent (you can pencil in LeBron James or Chris Bosh’s name here), that he’ll be the one taking the reins and coaching the team as soon as they asked.
In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar Riley isn’t even planning on waiting for a free agent to ask. He’s gonna be using that as a selling point in trying to entice LeBron or Bosh right from the start.
Coach Spo, you might as well start packing your bags and brushing up that resume, buddy.
We all know all too well what happened the last time Riley built a championship team. He first elevated his former assistant, Stan Van Gundy, to be the Head Coach, then quietly booted him out the door (read Van Gundy resigned for family reasons…lol) as soon as he felt the team was ready to really make a title run in 2006.
So, with Spo he’s obviously not gonna wait a full year after he’s built the team. For unlike the 2005 team he built with Shaq and Wade, I think Riley’s pretty confident the team he’s gonna build over the summer is gonna contend for a title this coming year.
In fact, I have a feeling he’s already got LeBron signed on, and knows for a fact there’s not a team in the NBA that will challenge a squad he’ll build with James and Wade on the team.
So, again, coach Spoelstra, you best get ready to find new employment, because Riley is takin’ over, rover.
Spoelstra is quoted as saying Riley’s talk of building a dynasty, “I think that’s why we all love working for Pat. He thinks big, he really does. You have to embrace that when you work for him. I think it’s an exciting mentality. Everything he does, he’s thinking about how to direct this team to a championship and that really galvanizes everybody here that’s working in this building.”
I couldn’t agree with you more, Eric. Only thing is, I don’t think you’ll be working in that building much longer. Unless, of course, you can handle being demoted so Riley can feed his ego.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never thought Riley was a great in-game coach. In fact, I’ve written numerous times about just that. However, Eric Spoelstra is his protégé, and is in the exact same basic mold. I was actually contemplating doing an article on that, saying that I felt Spoelstra wasn’t the one to lead the Heat to a title.
Well, apparently Pat Riley feels the same way, and is laying the foundation to oust his two-year experiment and return to coaching.
Will this guarantee us a title? If President Pat Riley is capable of landing LeBron James or Chris Bosh, along with another All-Star to pair with D-Wade, I think it just might, no matter my feelings of Riles ability to coach Xs and Os. He’s a master motivator, and with that amount of talent, that’s about all he’d need to be.
So, get ready for the wild offseason ahead, folks. These playoffs are only the preliminaries to the real championship run. The run that will determine who will be hoisting the championship trophy for the next five to seven years.
My money’s on Riley and the Heat enticing LeBron James to join D-Wade in South Beach to build a dynasty for the ages (you can read what moves I believe Riley should make to build that dynasty here), and now we know who will be coaching those great teams, Pat Riley himself.
Quotes taken from Yahoo! Sports article "Riley Gets Extension from Heat, Eyes Future" by Tim Reynolds