Heat's Pat Riley Fined $25K for Tampering Violation After LeBron James Comments

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 28: President Pat Riley of the Miami Heat looks on during the second quarter between the Miami Heat and the LA Clippers at American Airlines Arena on January 28, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NBA fined Miami Heat team president Pat Riley $25,000 for comments he made about Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. 

During an appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show (via Peter Botte of the New York Post), Riley said he'd be open to a reunion with James, who spent four seasons with the Heat.

"I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming," he said. "I would do that, but I doubt very much that key…that key is rusted now. ... I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat."

James signed an extension with the Lakers in December, which will keep him under contract through the 2022-23 season. A return to Miami likely won't be happening anytime soon.

Riley also seemed to allude to how the four-time MVP didn't exactly leave the Heat on the best of terms.

Upon returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, James said he had a "secret motivation" fueling his quest for a third NBA title at the time. He finally divulged the details behind that desire after the Cavs beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

"When I decided to leave Miami—I'm not going to name any names, I can't do that—but there were some people that I trusted and built relationships with in those four years [who] told me I was making the biggest mistake of my career," James said to ESPN.

"And that s--t hurt me. And I know it was an emotional time that they told me that because I was leaving. They just told me it was the biggest mistake I was making in my career. And that right there was my motivation."

While James didn't reference the Heat officials by name, many believed he was referring to Riley.

Dwyane Wade had perhaps an even worse breakup with the Heat given how long he had spent with the franchise. The 13-time All-Star came back and finished out his career in Miami nonetheless.

Perhaps LeBron may play in South Beach again one day. More likely, Riley has to pay $25,000 for talking about something that will never happen.