LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have some big decisions to make this summer, and it is Pat Riley’s job to convince the three superstars that South Beach is still the place for them to continue building their legacies. The Miami Heat president wants to build a dynasty with the Big Three, and despite the stress and uncertainty free agency causes, Riles can’t fathom breaking up the defending back-to-back NBA champs. Per ESPN:
“You always fear,” Riley said. “It’s not a real fear. I always have concern when players are in the situation they’re in. But we feel we have the best organization in the league for those players to stay, and to also attract others to want to come here. With our three guys, we hope that this turns into a generational team. And that it’s not just we’re at the end of this four-year run right now because players have some options this summer.”
“You listen to what he says, and he knows it,” Bosh said. “I remember he was talking to me as we were having a meeting and I wanted to start the season that minute. He just has that ‘been there, seen it all and this is what you have to do [element]’ about him. He comes around you, and you stand up straight.”
“He gave me one of his championship rings from 2006, and was like, ‘You give me that back when you come here and win yours.'” Bosh said. “So I took it. I was like, ‘Oh, man!’ Don’t tell me to take something if you don’t want me to take it. I’ve still got it, too. But I told him I’d give it back after this year.”
In the past four years, James has grown into a two-time champion who also added a total of four regular-season and Finals MVP trophies to his collection in Miami. (Owner) Micky Arison, Riley and (head coach) Erik Spoelstra will certainly have to retool the roster again this offseason — one way or another — to convince James, 29, he can compete for championships long term with the Heat.
But James remains confident in Riley’s track record. James also acknowledged the challenges a harsher luxury tax in the CBA represents, “the business side that hurts relationships,” but that his “connection with Riles” is always something he can fall back on regardless of looming decisions.
“He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Not me, not Dwyane, not Chris. No one,” James said. “His résumé speaks for itself. His stature speaks for itself. So we’ll see what happens.”
“You have to have a big-picture approach. That’s what I do best; I try to see the big picture,” Riley said. “Look at the reward they have. They got exactly what they wanted. Look at where they were before and look at what’s happened to them. They joined forces, they all sacrificed money, sacrificed roles. What they got out of it was back-to-back championships, and the opportunity this year to win another one.”
“It would be very hard for me to think anybody would walk away from the possibility of making this a long-term happening that can go for 10 or 12 years,” he said. “But you never know. You just don’t know.”