Heat president Pat Riley has been fined $25K for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule, the league announced today in a press release. The fine is a result of Riley’s recent comments about former Heat star LeBron James.
As we relayed earlier this week, Riley made his comments during a casual appearance on a live stream hosted by Dan Le Batard (video link). A glass of wine in hand during his appearance, the Heat president actually misinterpreted a question about whether he was still leaving a “key under the door mat” for Dwyane Wade, who is now a part-owner of the Jazz. Riley thought the question was in reference to James.
“LeBron, look, he’s one of the greatest of all time, and for four years down here, if we want to go back and remember what those four years were like, it was four years in the Finals, four years of excitement, two world championships… It was the best time for the Heat,” Riley said. “So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat.”
Riley seemed immediately aware he’d said too much about the current Lakers star, stating that his comments on LeBron “will just get me fined.” Still, a $25K penalty essentially amounts to a slap on the wrist when it comes to tampering violations, so the NBA is implicitly acknowledging that Riley’s violation was minor.
By comparison, Daryl Morey and the Sixers were each hit with a $75K fine earlier this week as a result of a two-word Morey tweet responding to Warriors star Stephen Curry. Morey tweeted, “Join ’em,” in reply to Curry’s post about his brother, Sixers guard Seth Curry.