Addressing reporters at his end-of-season press conference on Monday, Heat president Pat Riley said he and the team’s front office will continue to work on improving the roster this summer, adding that he’d not bothered by a relative lack of cap flexibility heading into the offseason.
“We’re not going to stop and it doesn’t make any difference how we do it,” Riley said, per Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. “Whether you’re a room team, whether you’re capped out, whether you’ve got a lot of guys under contract, whether you’re limited with your picks, you keep working toward your goal. That’s what we’re going to do. How we’re going to do it is irrelevant.”
While Riley said the Heat would like to keep their “core guys” together and give that group more help, he acknowledged that he’ll be open to virtually any avenue that could make the team better, confirming that no one on the roster is untouchable.
“Right now we have a bunch of guys that can still get better,” Riley said. “While internal improvement and development is a huge part of our organization, going outside and looking around, now is the opportunity to have those conversations — trying to find a transformative player, maybe, is probably what our challenge is going to be.”
Here’s more from Riley on the Heat, via Navarro and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald:
- Riley stated that Hassan Whiteside had “a bad year” in 2017/18, but he believes in the young center’s ability to bounce back next season, suggesting that Whiteside and head coach Erik Spoelstra need to get on the same page for that to happen. “I still think and believe Hassan can anchor in spite of what a lot of people believe,” Riley said.
- Riley recently spoke to Dwyane Wade, but didn’t broach the subject of retirement. “I don’t like to talk to a player about retirement because when start talking to a player about retirement, guess what? He retires,” Riley said. “So I don’t want to talk to he or UD (Udonis Haslem) about retirement because I think both players are still in great shape. They both can play.”
- There’s “no doubt” that the Heat want to re-sign Wayne Ellington, according to Riley. However, the team president admitted that it’ll be tricky to do so without going into tax territory. “If we signed Wayne, OK, next year and he takes us into the tax, then that guy right over there (GM Andy Elisburg) has 15 months to get us out,” Riley said.
- Riley isn’t bothered by not having a first-round pick in this year’s draft, noting that he’s “not a draft pick guy” and feels like the Heat only really need a first-rounder once every two years. “We hope one of the guys we really like that we can sign on July 1 might be tantamount to a first-round pick this year,” Riley said. He also observed that when Miami can acquire a player like Goran Dragic using mid-first-rounders like this year’s (No. 16 overall), he’d “much rather have” the Dragic-type veteran than the rookie.