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Pat Riley Says Heat See Opportunity with No Warriors, Spurs or Rockets in East

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2017

Sep 22, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley address reporters during a press conference at  AmericanAirlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat president Pat Riley feels good about the team's chances of being a top contender in the Eastern Conference this season due to the lack of a dominant team.

Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Riley said Friday the Heat "see an opportunity because there isn't a Golden State in our conference or San Antonio or Houston."

The Cleveland Cavaliers have represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons, including winning the 2016 NBA championship. 

This offseason has seen the Cavs undergo drastic changes. Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics as part of a package that included All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. 

Jason Lloyd of the Athletic reported on Sept. 8 Thomas' hip injury, which caused him to miss the final three games of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, is more than just a torn labrum. 

"Some of those secondary issues in the hip he has played with for years now, such as a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, are complicating his healing process," Lloyd wrote. "'No one has any idea how quickly this will heal or if it even will heal at all,' the source said. 'It's hard to predict.'"

The Celtics led the Eastern Conference with a 53-29 record last season, added Irving and Gordon Hayward to the roster and appear poised to take over as the best team in the conference. 

The Heat missed the playoffs last season with a 41-41 record. They signed Kelly Olynyk away from the Celtics to boost their depth in the frontcourt and help them return to the postseason. 

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