Pat Riley On: Whiteside, Wade, Rebuilding

With the departure of Dwyane Wade this past offseason and Chris Bosh‘s medical issues keeping him off the court, the Heat find themselves in the midst of a rebuild. The man heading up this effort, team president Pat Riley, sat down with David Aldridge of to discuss a number of topics. The entire piece is certainly worthy of a look, but here are some of the highlights:

On what kinds of characteristics he looks for in players when beginning the process of rebuilding:

Well, right now, it’s talent. It’s not the same level of talent that we saw in Dwyane or Caron Butler, what we saw in Alonzo Mourning when we traded for ‘Zo. It’s the raw talent that we can find. So talent is still, always and will forever be at the top of the list. So we feel that with Hassan Whiteside, and with Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson, and some of the new guys who we got this summer, four or five of those young guys can create a nucleus. We have a pick this year. I have intentions, if it’s possible, to try and get another pick. And then we will have room. And so from that standpoint, you start making a plan and formulating what it looks like down the road, but you’re going to have to get some breakthroughs — from Hassan, from Justise, from Tyler, from Josh. And then you’ll see where you go from there…

On what he saw in Hassan Whiteside that made him believe the center was worth signing and developing:

We almost drafted him. Chet [Kammerer, the Heat’s vice president of player personnel] and I were in Dallas, at Southern Methodist, watching him play down there [for Marshall]. They had him stand in the lane with his arms out, and they were playing the zone, so you never could really tell or not if he could play man to man or any kind of offensive moves. That’s when we drafted, just ahead of Sacramento, the kid from Texas — Dexter Pittman was drafted just ahead of him. To make a long story short, we had a history with Hassan because we really liked him. And we scouted him and we looked at him and we followed him. So when he came back after his sojourn around the world, and went to the NBDL and put up those numbers, and we brought him in, then we sent him back. And when we sent him back he had 40 and 28, or whatever it was. We said ‘get him back here.’ But then there was this one-day contract he signed with Memphis, because they didn’t have enough players. They said they were going to waive him the next day. And I said, ‘we lost him.’ When he signed with them, I said, we’ve lost this guy. But they cut him. And we picked him up and signed him.”

On if he had any hesitation in re-signing Whiteside to a max deal this offseason:

“No, there was no trepidation. When you look at how the game is played now, when you look at how it has evolved and how it’s played, he’s the perfect center. As a matter of fact, give me one team in the league that runs its offense through its center. There isn’t one. But there are a lot of centers that are mobile, that can leap, that are long, that are good in pick and roll. There’s a verticality to their game. They can catch it above the rim. They’re good defensive players. They can block shots. They can defensive rebound. I’m telling you, within a year, we’re going to be running a lot of offense through this guy. He’s never had that kind of pressure on him … These [superstar] guys, you went through them seven or eight possessions in a row. It didn’t make any difference. You knew you were going to get a shot. You would get one through them, or you were going to get one on the other side of the court because of the double team. But there’s a real focus on how to play the game when you’re going to see these kinds of defenses. He’s not ready for that yet, but also, that’s not the game we need him for right now.

On Dwyane Wade‘s departure and his regrets over the guard leaving Miami:

The one thing that we always wanted to do for Dwyane, and it probably was a mistake, was that we always wanted to try to get him another guy to help him win, to help him enjoy the end of his career. But we also knew that we were going to have to ask him to sacrifice. So we always tried to slide another guy in for him, and at the same time letting him know — really, without letting him know, because he was a partner — he was going to get his, whatever it was over the next four or five years that he played. One of the greatest feelings I ever had was one time when Magic called me on the phone, right after he retired. And he said, ‘guess what? I’m an owner … Dr. Buss let me buy some equity in the Lakers.’ That’s sort of what you envision and what you think can happen along the way, and I think that’s how we always sort of looked at Dwyane.

If we ever had to do it again, when LeBron James left [in 2014], we should have given Chris Bosh the max, and Dwyane the max. And that was it. Instead of trying to say to Dwayne, I want to get another guy for you, but you have to sacrifice. And that was wrong. I should have given him — we should have given him — that then. Now, that’s a big second guess. But that’s on me. If I could have pushed that, and I could have pushed that. But I didn’t. I said we need to get more talent for him. But somebody was going to sacrifice. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it. And we’re dealing with it. He’s dealing with it.

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3 thoughts on “Pat Riley On: Whiteside, Wade, Rebuilding

  1. BoSox27

    Ol’ Pat is a good man. He can kinda shoot hoops but he shoulda signed Durant

  2. Dean Gant

    Riley is full of it. He knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t like the fact that Wade was so tight with LeBron and when LeBron left he decided to not max out Wade. He decided to sign Goran and ask Wade to wait. Whiteside is a nice big, but the Heat have no dominant guards or small forward, 3 or 4 for that matter & they will be a middle of the road or lower team for the next several years.


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