While a buyout for Dwyane Wade is a popular topic of speculation around the NBA this fall, Heat president Pat Riley declined today to say whether his club would have interest in Wade as a free agent. Speaking to reporters, Riley praised Wade extensively and reminisced about the first championship the future Hall-of-Famer won with the franchise, but was careful to avoid tampering with a player under contract with the Bulls, wishing Wade the best in Chicago.
Wade was just one topic of discussion today for Riley, who also said that the Heat’s roster is set for training camp at 19 players, with he and Erik Spoelstra feeling as if it wasn’t necessary to fill that 20th and final spot. Riley also made a few other comments worth passing along, so with the help of Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, we’ll round up some of those comments below. Be sure to check out Jackson’s piece for even more from Riley.
Let’s dive in…
On the fact that there are no All-Stars on the Heat’s roster:
“There were only 12 All-Stars in the Eastern Conference last year. We felt there were players last year who had All-Star years [on the Heat] but they weren’t selected. We have stars on our team but they’re not considered that.
“I respect the fact Kevin Durant gave us an audience when we went to the Hamptons to talk to him [in July 2016]. I felt we were a long shot. The same thing happened with Gordon Hayward [this past summer]. If we have the opportunity, we will always continue to pursue a player of that ability to come here. We made the decision to stay with this team. I like this team. … We are way ahead of a rebuilding cycle. We are one step away from being a very good team. One step away could be the collective effort of an ensemble cast, or one step away could be a move to bring a player here.”
On expectations for Hassan Whiteside:
“If he wants to achieve the goals he talks about in the media, and puts out on social media, which are great, great goals — to be Defensive Player of the Year and make the All-Defensive Team and be respected. Those are things you must bring every single night [and you] must bring every single day in the offseason. H is on the road to achieving some of those goals. He wants to win. He appreciates the team and his teammates around him. That kind of growth has come slowly but it’s there. We’re expecting a great year out of Hassan and we need a great year out of Hassan.”
On Josh Richardson‘s extension:
“He’s a prototype contemporary player and he’s young. … When you take a look at player value, there are a lot intangibles you have to look at. We didn’t want him to go in the open market next year and coming off a great year, having to match some crazy contract. If the average salary in the NBA is close to $9-10MM, that’s where a lot of these guys are falling. When these words come out of my mouth, $8MM or $9MM as the average salary, if I’m a player in this league, I am saying to myself, ‘I am going to stay straight, be right, do whatever I can to have a 10-year career in this league and set up my family for life.’ We felt he was worth it and we expect great things from him.”
On being happy with the team’s current point guard depth:
“If we didn’t feel comfortable with Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters, then we would have gotten a veteran with 10, 12 years in the league. We don’t feel like we need that. If we did, it would have been easy for us to acquire that type of player.”