Heat team president Pat Riley addressed the club’s present and future during his yearly season-ending press conference today, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details.
Following a surprising NBA Finals run within the 2020 restart season’s Orlando “bubble” campus last year, expectations were high for Miami this season. However, many of the team’s key players battled injuries and COVID-19 exposure, and the Heat suffered a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Bucks. The loss of forward Jae Crowder in free agency, plus some compensatory signing missteps, also contributed to a disappointing 2020/21 season.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We are going to have a lot of [cap] room if we want to use it. You can’t continue to defer your room… We like our core.”
Here’s more from the presser:
- It sounds like Riley fully expects to replicate the success the club has enjoyed in recent seasons when scouring the market for undrafted rookies. The Heat traded away their first-round draft pick for 2021. “We will get a couple good players out of this year’s draft, I’m sure,” Riley said.
- Riley was questioned about Adebayo potentially rounding out his offensive game by developing three-point range soon. “It doesn’t need to happen quickly,” he said. “[Head coach Erik Spoelstra] likes to use Bam with a stretch five or four. You might have to change. You might have to think about what’s next thing in the NBA to require you to stay with that kind of play. I’ll leave that to Spo and we will talk about it.”
- New Heat guard Victor Oladipo, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, had an underwhelming tenure with the team, appearing in just four games after being acquired from the Rockets at the trade deadline. He was felled by a quadriceps injury that required season-ending surgery. “When we made the trade, we knew there was a risk,” Riley acknowledged. “He’s like any other free agent on the team who sustained an injury; he will be rehabbing with us until he’s healthy enough to get out of that cast. … We will monitor him, work with him, and then see what happens in August when we sit down to talk to him.”
- The 76-year-old Riley would not address his long-term outlook with the club as team president beyond the upcoming season. “I’m getting ready for the [draft combine] and then the summer league,” Riley said. “I’m ready to move forward and try to make this team better. For all of our fans out there, it was so great to see the place packed and I’m really disappointed our fans didn’t get to see what the Heat really are like.” Riley is one of the most decorated personalities in NBA history, having won once as a player, once as an assistant coach, five times as a head coach, and three times as an executive.