Alright, so I’m still picking up fragments of my brain off the floor, and slowly coming to grips with the fact that Shaquille O’Neal is now a member of the Suns.
I don’t care if the Heat are the worst team in the universe, Pat Riley should still be seriously considered for Executive of the Year. Think about what he did for a moment: In one fell swoop, dude took the single worst contract in the NBA (and arguably, in all of sports), and dumped it on a desperate franchise. Not only that, but he brought in a very exciting player that will actually give Heat fans a reason to start showing up to the arena this year.
(And let’s not forget what was perhaps his most incredible transaction: The near-miraculous shedding of Antoine Walker’s contract a few months back. ESPN Classic should run those negotiations on a continuous loop.)
Miami’s season was already down the tubes, and there were whispers that Riles’s job was in trouble. Today, he can walk down the street with his head held up high. Shawn Marion could end up taking his name off the books by opting out of his current deal this summer; the franchise will have plenty of cap space to either re-sign him or bring in other young talent to surround an increasingly unhappy D-Wade with.
Even though he did what he was brought in to do (win a title), Shaq’s contract was supposed to cripple Miami for years. Now he’s gone, and with a high lottery pick all but guaranteed this summer, the Heat and Riley have what looks to be a very bright future.
It’s the insanely brilliant work of an evil genius.