Heat team president Pat Riley said today that he’s “at peace with” the choice LeBron James made last summer to return to Cleveland, and he indicated that everyone else in the organization had moved on, too, as Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald transcribes (Twitter links). That didn’t appear to be the case when Riley, in response to a question about the draft, said there would be “no more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean,” as Goodman also relays from today’s season-ending press conference (Twitter link). That could be interpreted as a jab at James, whose affection for Shabazz Napier was well-known before the Heat drafted him just weeks prior to James’ departure from Miami, but Riley insists his remark could be a reference to “anyone across the board,” Goodman tweets. Regardless, Riley had much more to say about the Heat’s future, and we’ll round up the highlights here:
- Riley underscored the importance of re-signing Goran Dragic, as Herald columnist Barry Jackson relays. “If he doesn’t sign, my [expletive] is going to be in that seat and I’ll be writing about it,” Riley said to the gathered media. Still, Riley is “very confident” that Dragic will be back, Jackson notes.
- Dwyane Wade‘s health been an ongoing issue, but Riley challenged the 33-year-old to be prepared to play more often. Wade said last week that he intends to opt in for next season. “Dwyane has to change the narrative about his body, his injuries, his missing games,” Riley said. “We’ve had a discussion about that. Night in, night out, there’s always a question of whether he can or cannot [play]. I’d like to see him do whatever he has to do to get himself ready to practice and play every single night. He’s got five months. This is not just a Dwyane Wade problem. It’s throughout the league.”
- Riley would like to see the current starters return, Jackson relays in the same piece. That would indicate that the team wants to keep Luol Deng, who’s undecided about his more than $10.15MM player option.
- The Heat president laid out what he’s looking for in the draft, where the Heat have a lottery pick as long as it falls in the top 10, and the 40th pick, saying that he wants “developed players, experienced players,” Jackson notes. “While we felt we might have had enough on the perimeter, that might be an area where we look,” Riley said. “I don’t want a one-dimensional guy. [I want] guys that can [shoot], guys that are playmakers, guys that can defend. We will take the best player that’s available.”
- Riley believes the Heat will return to title contention next year, Goodman tweets, and he expressed bitter disappointment about falling short of the postseason this time around, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes (on Twitter). “There is not a person in the organization that doesn’t think we should have made the playoffs,” Riley said.