Pat Riley Says He Feels 'Obligation to Finish This Build' as Heat's Team President

Doric SamJune 6, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 24: President Pat Riley of the Miami Heat looks on during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at American Airlines Arena on April 24, 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)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami Heat president Pat Riley has already enjoyed enough success in the NBA to last a lifetime, but he's still hungry for more.

The 77-year-old spoke to reporters Monday and indicated that he has no plans to step away from the game anytime soon.

"I definitely feel an obligation to finish this build," Riley said. "And so if we're three years into this build—then I don't want to do another three years of just building this team. I think we're in that window of internal improvement."

The Heat finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference this season at 53-29. Miami advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals but fell to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Riley further explained that he thinks the team has a window to potentially win a title and that he doesn't want it to be wasted, which is why the loss to the Celtics was difficult for him to get over.

"We got a great, great, great player in Jimmy Butler. We know that," he said. "We have a lot of real experienced veterans, and so we put together a team that got to the Eastern Conference Finals, and it was bitter, it was a bitter loss. ... I was stunned. I was frustrated. I was angry. I was all of those things for the last week, and now I'm beginning to move on past all of that, so I haven't given that any thought at all."

Riley coached the Heat to an NBA title in 2005-06, and he constructed the rosters that won back-to-back championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The current Miami core features a mix of veteran experience with youthful energy, with the likes of Butler, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo.

"I like the team that we have," Riley said. "I like the core, so let's see where we can go internally and let's see where we can go if something presents itself. If that's a viable option. But I'm not really concerned about the age—I'm not—because there's more geezers in this league playing at the top of their game so you can't really depend on them."

While next season will not be any easier as the other Eastern Conference powerhouses reload for another title chase, Riley maintains that the Heat organization is up for the challenge.

"It's a different game, a different time, and we have to stay one step ahead of the posse, in order to stay one step away from—the street. And that's what we're going to continue to try to do," he said.