Heat president Pat Riley offered insight into the Chris Bosh situation and several other topics during a 46-minute news conference this afternoon, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Among the highlights:
- Bosh’s future remains uncertain after being sidelined since the All-Star break when blood clots were reportedly discovered in his left calf. Riley said doctors will work with Bosh over the summer to develop a program with the goal of getting him back on the court. “That’s always been our objective,” Riley said. “We’re in this together. It’s an X factor when it comes to everything we plan on doing this summer.”
- Riley called center Hassan Whiteside “our No. 1 priority, period” when it comes to free agency. The 26-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and leading the league with 3.7 blocks per night. Whiteside will be an unrestricted free agent and the Heat don’t own his Bird rights because he signed just a two-year contract in 2014 after being out of the NBA for two seasons. “I don’t think he’s even reached his real ceiling in a couple areas of the game that I think that now he will be more comfortable with once his situation ends,” Riley said. “… He has shown all of us he can be 15 and 15 and four blocked shots and 70% field goal guy. There are other layers to his game I think he can even be better at. He’s very, very, very high on our priority list.” Riley promised the Heat will contact Whiteside at 12:01 a.m. July 1, the official start of free agency.
- Another Heat decision will involve whether to again sign Dwyane Wade to a one-year contract or to hammer out a longer agreement. Riley called Wade a “lifer” in Miami and promised to “do the right thing” for the future Hall of Famer. “Compensation to a player is not just a way to get paid and live your life,” Riley said. “Compensation to a player is about recognition and respect.”
- Free agent power forward Udonis Haslem may have a future with the Heat even though he’s about to turn 36 next month. Riley likes the way Haslem became a mentor to young players and contributed on the court when needed. “He said he learned more than ever about leadership this year in thinking about what he had to bring to the team that day because he wanted to talk to Hassan or Justise [Winslow] or Gerald [Green] or somebody,” Riley said. “… What he got was a great result.”
- Riley said he understands that Goran Dragic had a hectic year that involved a lot more than just his trade from the Suns. But he added that the “unsettled” excuse is in the past, and the organization expects a lot more from Dragic next season. “He’s got to be a player than can create and score when there is no space,” Riley said. “That’s part of the game also, because when teams start to take things away from you and the offense that the coach creates, what are you going to do?”