Pat Riley’s Unpopularity and the Free Agent Pool

by March 05, 2008

by Marcel Mutoni

The Miami Heat hope to rebuild through two methods: The draft and free agency. The endless losing they’ve gone through this season will likely ensure a high draft pick, but free agency may prove a little trickier.

Heat coach Pat Riley, in a recent survey, was voted as the coach players least want to play for. Riles, though, doesn’t sound too worried about it.

He was No. 1 in a runaway. Riley received 28 percent of the votes among 242 players interviewed. Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas and former Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles were next at 12 percent each.

“Two years ago I was the most favored guy to play for,” he said, referring to the Heat’s championship season of 2005-06.

“I’ll find the guys who like me. Don’t worry,” he said.

The truth of the matter is that Heat fans have nothing to worry about. Riley no longer conducts those legendary practices with garbage cans placed all around the gym for exhausted players to throw up in. That, and it’s funny how dollar bills (and the Miami nightlife) can change someone’s mind about playing for a tough coach.