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Pat Riley says he is not going to coach, break up “Big 3”

Jun 21, 2011, 11:29 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three Getty Images

Pat Riley is not going to coach the Miami Heat next season.

No, he is not going to break up the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh either.

Riley had his annual end-of-season meeting with the media Tuesday and sounded like a guy who doesn’t like to lose but realizes the huge strides were made by a team thrown together this season. Here are some quotes, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Of a possible return to coaching, Riley, 66, said, “No, I’m not going to do that…..”

While Riley would not discuss specifics about Spoelstra’s coaching future, he said, “Definitely we’re going to bring Erik back. As far as any long-term type of situation, that has not been discussed….”

“There was never any thought, never any discussion of moving any of those guys,” he said (of their big three). “I’m happy we have those three together.”

Riley said he could not envision dramatically changing his approach with his roster.

“I don’t think you win championships with young, athletic players that don’t have experience,” he said.

Riley is smart here. Spoelstra got outcoached in the finals, but to see the strides this team made from November to the Eastern Conference Finals is to see a good coaching job. The Heat were playing as a team in the payoffs (at least up until the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the finals). Get a couple better role players to go around them and they will be better.

While the Heat invited the hype — and the scorn that followed — any sober assessment of them on the court is that they improved and became a very good team. One that reached the NBA finals. Tweaks are needed, not overhauls, not coaching changes.

Riley, once again, is making the smart play.

  1. chargerdillon - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Pat Riley offloaded as much as possible and wheeled and dealed to turn the Heat franchise from good/above average with one superstar in Wade, to the #1 contender to win the championship for maybe the next 5 years if not more.

    Pat Riley will have a job as a GM wherever he wants to go for the rest of his life, and I don’t see him leaving the great empire he built in Miami where he can sit on the sidelines and watch this thing unfold.

    In one major turnaround season they made it 2 games away from winning the Championship. Erik Spolestra had a hell of a job making that team work, and he nearly did it as good as you can possibly do it. Pat made a great choice in a coach, credit them both.

  2. fouldwimmerlaik - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Blah, blah, blah. Yak, yak, yak.

    To break up the Big 2 1/2 now would be to admit failure after only one year. Riley is not going to do that. I am not saying that he SHOULD break them up now. Certainly, an experiment like this is going to take some time to play out. I think this gets a minimum of two more years to work. If it doesn’t then he might try and dump one of them, the most likely being Bosh as he is the most clearly overpaid of the three. But that might also make him the least dumpable.

    And if they don’t win the championship next year, damn straight the egotistical Riley will be back coaching. He is not giving up on this until he lets the greatest coach he has ever seen, himself, coach the three jagweeds. His ego combined with their egos will make the whole thing ego-tacular.

    The saddest part is, I do believe these morons will win a NBA Championship someday, and that will be a sad day for the NBA. But, until they do, I will enjoy their NOT winning.

  3. henryd3rd - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Spoelstra must be ecstatic that he didn’t get Riley’s proverbial vote of confidence? If this team gets off to a slow start next season you can believe that changes will be made and the only players who are untouchable are?

  4. svallen - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Why break up the Big 3 – if anything they need to bring in some additions, bench players that can consistently shoot the 3 and allow LeBron to get open down low for easy baskets. There is some dead weight that could be trimmed this off season as far as free agents go – Bibby and Howard, but I would say Chalmers should be signed by Miami and use the additional monies to bring in someone else.

    Heat Free Agents:

  5. tashkalucy - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Pat Riley was an excellent coach….mainly because he had Magic Johnson, the ultimate team-oriented superstar (along with Bird……Jordan? Uh, no). The Lakers players got tired of Pat’s wife intervening with the team and trying out her psychology degree and business on them and the time came for the Buss’s to wish him luck elsewhere. Pat landed on his feet in NYC and played bully ball with the Knicks where he won some until the league had to change the rules because the game became a shoving match and the fans turned to NBA out. He got the big job in Miami and didn’t do much except for the year he got Shaq because the Lakers had to chose between Shaq and Kobe and correctly took Kobe. Other then that Riles has been more myth than producer….Phil Jackson, Pops, etc. he’s not.

    Riley wanted Lebron to play point guard, Lebron nixed that. Spoelstra wants Lebron to post-up…..but people posting up in the NBA get pushed and shoved all game long…..Lebron is a glory guy, but working and fighting for it not his thing. Posting-up and Lebron are not to be used in he same sentence, even if he is supposed to be a forward. Next thing yu know the coach will be asking Lebron to set licks for his teammates. We’re not talking Kevin Garnet here…heck, we’re not talking Rudy Gay. And twice in the past month Lebron and Wade — who play the same game — said neither one is going to change his game.

    Riley is ineffective. So is Spoelstra. The Big 3 will continue to do what they want when they want to for whatever reason they decide. The coach, president and owner can take it and like it.

    James can get out of his contract after 4 years. I’d suspect that if he doesn’t win a championship after 3 he and his “team” will demand a trade to a destination of their choosing. Until then Riley is no more than an observer…..and a guy to be blamed if the Big 3 Egos don’t win the championship(s) they believe they’re entitled to,

  6. silkyjohnson937 - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Im not exactly sure but what if the new cba contains a salary cap that would force the heat/riley to do something critical?? I dont know how or if the new cba will affect the heat im just curious as to if thats a possibility?

    • nfl25 - Jun 21, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      dude the nba loves that the heat are together. they will never make them split up. it gives something to watch for fans of teams that suck. you either jump on the bandwagon cuz ur team sucks and u want to feel like a winner, or you love to watch underdogs try to beat the dream team. this will go on for the next couple years. nba will hope/help heat make the finals and hope/help that the heat lose

  7. nfl25 - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Where I get confused is why a small group of people say stuff like, “eric did the best he could with the hand he was dealt”, you mean “eric did the best he could when he was dealt pocket aces”. I understand that the mavs coach said it but it seemed like he was just being nice to the guy he just outcoached badly.

    Why is having a bunch of superstars on one team a bad thing? I get that they only been together for one year but so what? It’s a very long season. After 80 some games you should be fine. Nfl has 16 games and there is so much more to nfl plays than compared to basketball, and when you get on a NFL new team you better adapt quickly.

    • florida727 - Jun 21, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      I have to agree with “nfl25”. By the time you’ve played pre-season, in-season, and three rounds of playoff games, you’ve been together for 100+ games. Considering how much 1-on-1 play dominates a typical NBA game, you cannot tell me they weren’t “playing together” or “on the same page”.

      As far as Spoelstra is concerned, first and foremost, the NBA is and always will be a players game. I’ve watched coaches draw up end-of-game plays and what the players execute looks nothing like them. A coach does by far the majority of their work BEFORE the game is ever played. Do they influence the outcome? Yeah… by the aforementioned upfront work. Once the ball is tossed up, they play a very small role in the outcome. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know much about the pro game. I covered the Chicago Bulls during their first three-peat. I know just enough to be dangerous :)

    • ndirishfan1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      Rick Carlisle outcoached Erik Spoelstra thoroughly. The NBA is a players’ game, but the players weren’t running Jason Terry off double screens in Game 2 during the comeback without Carlisle pushing the button over and over. Miami didn’t start killing the clock and clearing out with three minutes remaining without Spoelstra pushing the button. Coaching mattered very much in the NBA Finals. Carlisle’s always been underrated–first as Larry Bird’s top assistant, then in Detroit and Indiana–and he was right when he spoke after Game 6: This was a team through and through. They executed perfectly when it mattered and have the title to show for it.

  8. thetooloftools - Jun 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    how’s this tasting ?
    Thanks for tearing down my post.

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