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Pat Riley releases statement on LeBron James opting-out of contract

Jun 24, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT

Miami Heat president Pat Riley is the man on the hot seat now that LeBron James has opted out with the Miami Heat.

But he knew all of it was coming, the opt out and the pressure . Riley sounded prepared for it at his end of season press conference, challenging LeBron James not to leave the Heat, noting that the Spurs or the Showtime Lakers or the Bird-era Celtics didn’t break up with a Finals loss. Riley released an official statement on Tuesday reacting to LeBron’s decision to opt out.

“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami HEAT to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the Draft and Free Agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”

You can be sure Pat Riley has plans — not one, multiple scenarios — to throw at LeBron about how he plans to improve the team, depending on how much money he has to spend.

Which comes back to how much of a pay cut LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are willing to take. LeBron and Bosh seem open to the idea, Wade  is the wild card — he has talked about his importance to the franchise and that he doesn’t think he should take a cut. More Kobe Bryant than Tim Duncan. If he doesn’t make a move, it limits what Pat Riley can do.

And it opens the door wide for LeBron James’  suitors.

We’ll see if Pat Riley has a plan for that, too.

  1. gpatrick15 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    ESPN says teams are gearing up to make a run to get both LeBron and Melo on the same team. They’ve been friends since before they were drafted, and have allegedly spoken fondly of the idea of playing together during their careers. Could it all be BS? Probably, especially considering the hype machine that ESPN is. But there are a few teams out there that could potentially fit both of them under the cap with near max room, specifically the Lakers, along with a handful of other teams. A pairing of Melo and Kobe wouldn’t work in my opinion, but that pairing with LeBron running the show? Even in a deep west, they could make a run at a few titles, with the right coaching staff in place. It’s not farfetched for Melo LeBron to team up, but only with the right supporting cast. This’ll be an interesting free agency regardless of where they sign.

    • mcjon22 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Kobe Lebron and Melo on the same team?

      God that would be such a delicious train wreck.

      • mazblast - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        Those three competing for the ball and the media attention. No rebounding, little if any defense. Train wreck indeed–but with maximum media fawning.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      I don’t think it’s BS at all. I think James, Chris Paul and Melo have all talked about that. Of course, we know that Paul and Melo absolutely did – as did James and Wade.

      The report about the Heat trying to get Melo down to Miami came out for a reason. It was based on something.

      • gpatrick15 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        For the first time, ever, I agree with you. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I doubt it happens in Miami or with the Clippers, but it’s certainly possible in a few cities.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        There’s definitely smoke. There is something to those reports. That doesn’t mean any of it will materialize though.

  2. infectorman - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    SUUURRRE u did, Pat. SUUURe u did

    • sdlakerfan - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Exactly! Bullsh_t!

    • apkyletexas - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Riley could just offer James nothing, and use that huge cap room to go after Kevin Love and a bunch of solid role players to pair up with Wade and Bosh. That would still be plenty good enough to get out of the East.

      • bougin89 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        Love isn’t a free agent and the Heat have nothing to offer the Twolves unless it’s one of the big three(which isn’t happening).

      • cubb1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:01 AM

        Love is not even half the player that Lebron is or 1/10th the draw. No matter how much Arison pays Lebron, he would still make exponentially more money with James on the Heat than he could ever possibly make with Kevin Love.

  3. fanofthegame79 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Reports said that Wade is looking at a 4 year contract for $50-55 million which comes out to $12.5 to $13.75 million per year…..which is still too much for what Wade has to offer these days. It wouldn’t be too bad for $12.5 million, but I wouldn’t mind that being around the $11-12 million a year range. That would open up some salary room to sign other free agents. Bosh needs to take a pay cut as well. As for LeBron, he should take a bit of a paycut as well. Yes, he’s worth the max (and then some) but if he wants to win, that’s what he’ll do. Frankly, that’s the only way the Heat can continue to build around this “Big 3”.

    • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      Wade, in strict basketball terms, isn’t worth 10 figures per year. He was properly rested all year, the Heat had an easy path to the Finals, and he still fell apart when he was needed to spell LeBron. He’s barely a shadow of even 2010 or 2011 Wade.

      • bougin89 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        He clearly didn’t play well in the finals and clearly I’m not a Heat fan but how can you say Wade isn’t worth 10 million a year when every team that could, would pay him that much?

        How many SG’s last year averaged at least 19 ppg, 4 rpg, and 4apg?

        2 James Harden and Wade.

      • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Now, play him 82 games and see what his numbers are. If he’s going to take so much time off, he needs to give the team a discount.

        We’re also not talking just next year. He wants a 4 year deal minimum. Do you want to be paying Wade’s knee $10M in four years? I don’t.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        I agree, but the reality of the NBA and the contracts states that Wade will earn $10 million (and probably closer to $12 million) per year.

      • bougin89 - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        If I were Pat Riley, I would pay Wade $15 million a year for 4 years(without even the slightest hesitation) if it meant getting Lebron to re-sign with me.

        I just don’t get the people saying Lebron has no help anymore. Wade was the best shooting guard in the East, he still has a lot of value even if he isn’t the same Wade(he clearly isn’t) of even 2 or 3 years ago just because he had a really poor finals.

        Wade will sit down with Riley and I believe he will eventually opt out to save the Heat some money but I can’t see him taking less than half of what he makes now. He won’t opt out without Riley making an offer first…

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      OK fan,

      IF the deal were for “only” $50 million…and 4 yrs of training, travel pain in the areas where his knees used to be etc…

      OR just opt in the next two yrs and earn $41,819,000.

      Two yrs at $41.819 million

      Or 4 yrs at $50 million.

      That is two FULL yrs MORE of training, travel and pain for “only” $8.2 million and I’m rounding UP.

      After the next two yrs on his contract (IF he opted in both yrs) he would have earned $162 million just in on court earnings alone, plus whatever he’s made in endorsements.

      I can’t think that he’d consider two yrs at what would amount to $4.1 million per yr ($20 mill, $21 mill, $4.1, $4.1 mill totals $50 mill) is enticing to him…

      Because that IS what it comes down too…

      2 yrs at $41.8 or 4 yrs at $50

      Yeah, say it’s $12.5 per but Wade would KNOW that he gave up $20 to get that $12.5

      Also, there is the TIME VALUE of money.

      Having $41.8 million in two years allows one to do things with it that one could not while only collecting $25 million in those two years…

      So in addition to training, traveling etc… for two full more seasons, the TIME VALUE of money would FURTHER shrink that $8.2 million difference.

      Not worth it Wade…

      Get on TV when you’re done playing, begin your career there and make some coin that way…

      Heck, he could come close to making $50 million in the next 4 yrs by playing and taking the $41.8 million for 2 seasons and then going on TV, coupled with time value of money.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 24, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        I’m not sure of your point….I mean, you’re right with the numbers above, but why?

        Yes, we all know Wade can earn more money by opting in – but I’d be willing to bet that players like Wade, etc. want more than just money. He’ll get his money with endorsements…he wants a bigger legacy not a bigger bank account.

      • c2poke88 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        But the flip side of that coin is this. While Wade can opt in and make $41.8 mil over the next 2 years, his earning potential would drop significantly at the end of that 2 years. With his horrible knee condition, inability to defend his position, his age and poor shooting range, he’d be lucky to sign for more than the mid-level exception 3 years from. And that’s IF a contender wants him. He might be able to get a little more from a bottom feeder, but not much. But if he opts out and signs a 4yr deal worth $52mil, he would be guaranteed to make $13mil/yr for the next 4 years. He’d lose money in the 1st 2 years of the contract compared to what he would have made by opting in, but he will gain much of it back in the final 2 years because he would be earning considerably more at that point than he would be able to get on the open market. That will also enable Miami to keep the Big 3 together AND improve the overall roster so they can continue to compete for championships. So Wade would be extended his ability to maintain an 8-figure/yr salary for 4 more years, AND he would be adding another 4 years to his championship window.

  4. djshnooks - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    If Melo teams up with Lebron, he’s never welcomed back in Syracuse, NY, again. I’ll never watch a basketball game again. And he will no longer be my favorite athlete.

    • mazblast - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      I hate to be the one to break this to you, but I doubt that Carmelo much cares.

    • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Boo f’ing Hoo.

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      say it aint so!! nooooooo

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Nah. People said that in 2010. You’ll be back.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Melo is your favorite athlete?

      I give you credit… that must have taken great strength to come out and admit that on here…

      Dude’s a bum…

    • crazyhandles05 - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM


  5. mcjon22 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    There’s no reason for Lebron or Bosh IMO to take a pay cut. The guy that needs to take a significant pay cut is Wade. He shouldn’t make a penny over 10 mil. His knees are only going to get worse from this point forward.

    Bosh would get a max or near max deal from Dallas or Chicago. Lebron would easily get a max deal from any team he wanted to got to, Wade? He’d probably fall in the 2nd tier of free agents with guys like Pau Gasol and Loul Deng.

    • mortalkondek - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Think Riles would/should/could trade him if he doesn’t play team ball?

      • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        Who’d bite on a 33 YO SG makeing $20M with one knee who needs tons of rest?

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      There is one issue with that – the Kobe contract. It was offered to Bryant right after a major injury. Wade is obviously saying he feels fantastic, so he is probably going to want to know why he should take a pay cut when mangled Kobe is still the highest paid player in the league.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Two wrongs DON’T make a right…

        The Kobe contract was beyond stupid…

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        Kobe’s contract and its effects on his team are things Riley might have reason to bring up in that discussion – not Wade.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        True. But Wade could point out the Buss family, with a net worth of only $380 million, went above and beyond for an injured Kobe – so what exactly is stopping Arison and his $6.3 billion from showing the same love to Wade?

        “Luxury tax” is not going to be an acceptable answer.

  6. tampajoey - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    He gone

  7. hwatt - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    this is like the slowest news day in the history of slow news days. lookit all these people jerking off to the “news”

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      Haha. People have been waiting for this day for 4 years.

  8. pachingg - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Say bye bye Miami

  9. tombstone7 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    IMO, LeBron should opt-in with OKC………he would brng the needed 3rd dimension.

    OKC can leave Perkins and several others on the doorsteps of somebody else’s bench!
    Just sayn’

    • bougin89 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      I think Lebron has until tomorrow to decide whether he’ll excercise his opt into OKC clause.

  10. kb2408 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    Wade ain’t Kobe. Kobe at the age Wade is now was still 1st team All NBA. At this stage of his career Wade is the third best player on his own team.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      At this point, Kobe isn’t even Kobe.

      • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        And he’s still in better trim than Wade.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM


  11. gatorfan1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    How ironic. The guy who illegally recruits LeBrick BY encouraging him to “exit stage left” now has to kiss this guys arse to keep him from “exiting stage right”!! Too funny.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:28 PM


      change up your nickname for Lebron.

      Dude CAN shoot. Over 50% the past 5 seasons. Over 56% the last two seasons…

      Has increased his FG% for the past seven CONSECUTIVE seasons..

      So… LeBrick falls flat as Lebron is a good shooter.

      Now, LeFlop IS more accurate and appropriate.

      And besides, MeBrick doesn’t like you using his name for Lebron…

      • gatorfan1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Your right, my bad. How about either “The Exit Man” or “Mr. 2-3 in championships and if not for 1 hell of a shot by Allen, 1-4”. You choose, either one is fine by me

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        I do like the sound of “Mr. 2 & 3 in championships”

        that was good…

  12. papichulo55 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Riley is right about not overreacting. Getting trashed by the Spurs in 2014 doesn’t automatically translate into getting trashed in 2015. I am confident that Riley will figure out a way to keep the team together and add some much needed new blood. I truly hope that the Three Amigos respond to the Spurs with a ‘Best Two Outta Three’ challenge for 2015.

    But for now, I must tip my hat to the 2014 NBA Champion Spurs. That performance would have challenged anybody! The MJ Bulls, Showtime Lakers, Bird Celtics, anybody. LBJ is too much of a student of the game to not see this too. I think LBJ knows that his best response is to get back to the Finals with a better Heat team, and see if the Spurs can repeat.

    • spursareold - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      Dude, they weren’t even competitive in 4 of the 5 games. I’m not sure the Heat can even re-tool over the summer. They have too many one way players that the Spurs exploited. If it was a defense only guy, they force the ball into his hands by doubling other players. If it was an offensive spark like Ray, they attacked him mercilessly on defense. With the money they have, they probably can’t even get a couple of two way players, which would be the minimum of what they would need. They can probably improve some, but we’re talking at best closer games and losing in 6 instead of 5.

      • papichulo55 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        Dude, I gave you your props on the 2014 season. Thats all you will get. IMHO, the Spurs won’t play at that level in the 2015 Playoffs. Repeating is not a part of their DNA.

  13. 5xchamp24 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    The way LB and wade looked every time the media showed them together, It looked like they were boyfriend and girlfriend. They got together because they were friends. They built an even closer relationship since then and won 2 chips. There’s no way LB is gonna up and leave Wade, bad knees or not. Can’t see it happening.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      What if Wade was seeing Lebron’s mom a lot?

      • papichulo55 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Yo! Thats a Flagrant 2!

  14. seasickcecil - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    I don’t care what grease head is saying. He’s pooping his drawers right now.

  15. miamatt - Jun 24, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Funny how many people act as though LeBron opting out was in any way unexpected. Whether you think he stays in Miami or leaves, opting out of his current contract is what happens first.

  16. cubb1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:53 AM

    Hey Pat, better dust off your knee pads.

  17. nard100 - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    I do think it is funny how so many haters during the season have changed their tune and now want to supplicate LBJ for favor these days and free agency has barely begun. LOL.

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