At his season-ending press conference today, Heat president Pat Riley expressed optimism and enthusiasm about his team’s future, despite the fact that he was disappointed Miami wasn’t able to sneak into the playoffs.
“While we’re not in the playoffs, we’re ahead of the game,” Riley said. “The table is set, with the pick. We obviously know we have flexibility in free agency. We will see how that works out with our players and other players.
“I was pissed. They deserved to get in and they didn’t get in…. We won four out of our last five games against the best teams in the conference and we still didn’t get in. It was a great disappointment, but at the same time it was a lot of success.”
In addition to suggesting that he’s not sure how many more non-playoff years he can take, Riley weighed in on several items of note relating the Heat and their summer plans. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights, courtesy of Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald…
- Asked about possibly pursuing a star free agent – as the Heat did a year ago with Kevin Durant – Riley downplayed that possibility, suggesting that “we are going to focus on our guys” rather than the “whales” he has talked about in the past. In addition to Dion Waiters and James Johnson, one of those guys is Udonis Haslem — Riley said today that he wants the longtime Heat big man back on the roster next season, calling Haslem “invaluable.”
- The Heat may also go the trade route rather than making a massive free agent signing, according to Riley, who added that Justise Winslow is not “going anywhere.”
- On the subject of Chris Bosh, Riley said there have been discussions within the organization about Bosh’s situation, but there’s no resolution yet.
- Riley doesn’t mind not being at the very top of the draft, since he feels like he can get a solid player in the middle of the first round, and points out that seven of the top prospects are point guards, which he doesn’t need (Twitter links via Jackson).
- The Heat president indicated that he was happy the team invested heavily in Hassan Whiteside last summer, adding that he believes the young center is capable of developing into the sort of player who averages 25 PPG, 17 RPG, and 6 APG.
- Riley called the issue of resting healthy players an “absolute travesty” that needs to be addressed by the league, noting that the Heat don’t take part in that practice.
- Riley also said that Miami’s goal is to establish a D-League affiliate within 100 miles of the NBA team (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). Currently, the Heat’s NBADL team plays in Sioux Falls, which is more than 1,800 miles away from Miami.
- Be sure to check out Jackson’s recap for several more comments from Riley.