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Pat Riley can’t see Heat’s big three breaking apart

Apr 3, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

Miami Heat President Riley reacts after he was introduced during a celebration at the American Airlines Arena after the Heat's NBA Basketball Championship parade in Miami Reuters

Around the league, nobody really expects this either. They may be ready just in case, but they don’t expect it.

This summer LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all opt out of their contracts with the Miami Heat. Wade has said when the season ends for them the three will huddle up and discus their options.

Pat Riley, the executive who took the gamble of trying to bring them together then convinced everyone it would work, can’t see the whole thing falling apart after two titles and three trips to the Finals (and that is before these playoffs when the Heat are title contenders again),

That’s what Riley told Michael Wallace at ESPN.

“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….”

The goal is to retool the Heat’s roster around James, Wade and Bosh to keep them together and in title contention for another handful of years and produce another dynastic decade. Despite difficult financial decisions looming amid a more punitive luxury tax set to kick in this offseason, Riley hopes to rely on three franchise pillars that have kept the Heat proactive and productive all these years. It starts with stability.

It’s going to be difficult under the new cap to keep quality players around those three, unless they all take another pay cut. And even they do it still will not be easy.

Or, all three could decide to opt in and just keep their existing contracts going for another year, pushing the decision back 12 months.

With this group the Heat have been a title contender for four years and they can do it for a few more as long as LeBron is at his peak. Eventually there will be major changes.

But to quote the great Tower of Power, you don’t change horses in the middle of the stream. Which is why nobody thinks the Heat will break up this summer (whatever happens in the playoffs). And if anybody can keep retooling this team into a winner, it is Riley.

Which is why he’s not really worried.

  1. thevikesarebest - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    The peds will keep them together.everytime lecry James flops his hairline goes back an inch.

    • chicagosports2014 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      SIMPLE, give DWADE Alonzo Mourning job than max CBOSH, LJAMES, Oh but I’m sure they talk about this every day

    • ganksus - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      Just shut up with that middle school Lebron James name calling. I can guarantee he has never insulted you and never will.

    • cantonbound13 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:21 AM

      Great point!

  2. rodge1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    And the haters will always show their jealousy.

    • beach305 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      I often would imagine if Jordan, played in this era of social media how much hate would come his way. I remembered players in that era complaining on the special treatment he got. Can you imagine how the fans would have reacted!

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        With his gambling and nefarious way, I doubt he’d be the person he is today. Do you really think Gatorade would have put out “I wanna be like Mike”?

      • xfactor123 - Apr 5, 2014 at 6:49 AM

        Come on, really? Trying to knock MJ down a peg because there is no way to bring LeBron to his level? Hell, the LeBron “fans” seem to hate on him more than the haters do.

    • chicagosports2014 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      If they leave you’re gonna cry “rodge1” lolz

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    More I think about it, more I think they’re going to opt in for one more year, win or lose. Okay, now I’m done talking about this ridiculous and premature subject.

    Next comment from me on this will be the day after the championship parade in SA, OKC, Hou, LA, or Miami

    • casualcommenter - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      IMO, I think it’s clear all 3 are staying.
      The only question is how big of a paycut is each player (especially Wade) willing to accept to allow Riley to build a good supporting cast?

      Shane Battier says he’s retiring, and Ray Allen might retire. Chalmers, Lewis, Beasley, and Oden are all impending free agents.

      Without paycuts by the Big 3, the Heat will be very close to the luxury tax line with just the Big 3 plus Chris Anderson, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem, and their 2014 first round draft pick on the roster.

  4. casualcommenter - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Not a Heat fan, but I agree with Pat Riley. Looking at the Big 3 individually…

    Dwyane Wade: Due to his age, decline in athleticism, and inability to consistently play in regular season games, I don’t think a team with max-level cap space would make him a big enough offer for him to consider leaving the Heat.

    Chris Bosh: His numbers have declined in Miami, but IMO he’s become a better defender and a better jump shooter, so I actually do think he could get a max offer someplace else. However, he says he wants to stay in Miami, and there aren’t any teams with max level cap space that offer him a better chance to win in the short term assuming the Heat keep LeBron.

    LeBron James: The only team that he might have left the Heat for is the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Cavs are still a lottery team 4 years after he left. Joining any other team would lead to a PR nightmare, and LeBron cares about his image. Also, Pat Riley has earned LeBron’s trust when it comes to finding quality teammates, and there aren’t many GMs with more credibility when it comes to building championship-level rosters.

    I think it’s clear all 3 are staying, but the question is how big of a paycut is each player (especially Wade) willing to accept to keep the team together?

  5. cruzan80 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    If they don’t win the championship….nothing will surprise me. Especially Bosh who can go to Houston for example & have just as good a chance to more titles.

  6. ufools - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Can we please quit including Wade in a ‘big 3’…..he’s a medium at best. He barely plays….his knees are shot. He’s a bench guy at best after this season.

    • pharohislife - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      A bench guy? Who’s taking his place in the starting lineup? Ray Allen? Norris Cole? He’s definitely not a star anymore but he’s not a bench player either. Like Paul Pierce said at the beginning of this season joining the Nets, “I’m a Glorified Role Player.” That’s gonna be Wade either next season or 2 years from now.

    • kinggw - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Wade is medium? How many guys in the league are averaging 19/5/5 or better? Just 4 players including LBJ, KD,Harden, and the guy you claim doesn’t belong in a big 3.

      Wade has missed a lot of games, in large part because the Heat are gearing up for the second season. He’s more efficient than ever. He’s still one of the league’s best, still a game changer, and he takes the Heat from an average playoff team to a championship team.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:38 PM

        Well said, sir.

      • bougin89 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        I actually totally agree with your point but I’m being picky here. There are only three 19/5/5 guys in the NBA and they are LBJ, KD, and Westbrook.

        Wade is in the 19/4/4 club now. The 19/4/4 club only has 8 players in it. It’s still very exclusive company.

      • bkbell3 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        And wade is shooting well over 50% from the field.

  7. jimeejohnson - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Riley better have his eyes checked.

  8. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Riley would be stupid to offer Wade a big long-term deal, and so would every other GM in the league. Or a big short-term deal for that matter. Dude’s broken and everyone knows it.
    LBJ would be stupid to take any sort of major pay-cut. He did it once, and delivered the goods. This time, anything less than Riley offering max would be a slap in the face.
    Bosh can get near-max on the open market, and he should probably get what he can get this time.

    • beach305 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      U can say the same thing about Rose

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        I’d be afraid to offer Rose a 10-day contract.

    • bkbell3 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      lbj makes over 50mil. per year and wade makes I think 30 mil so if anybody should take the max it’s Bosh as he doesn’t make much from endorsements

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Bosh doesn’t earn max money playing for Miami. That’s not his fault, he could easily put up better numbers for any other team in the league. He should be offered reasonably near max money though, if Miami wants to keep him, as they won’t get anyone as good who’s willing to take a backseat.
        OTOH, it’s obvious Wade can’t play 82+post-season. He can’t do the work, he doesn’t deserve the money.

  9. kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Who cares? Wade is washed up, Bosh has been reduced to a 6’10” shooting guard and LBJ is bound to start breaking down. A man his size, and with as many miles he has on his body, can’t stay healthy forever. Injuries are inevitable. This is the Heats last and best chance at another title.

    • pantsfreezone - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      This post might qualify for the stupidest thing on the internet ever. Congratulations!

      • kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        What’s stupid about it? Everybody, except for Heat fans, can see Wade is clearly breaking down. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make the comment stupid or not true. I guess when you have nothing to refute facts all you can say is it’s stupid.

      • pantsfreezone - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:51 AM

        Wade is averaging 20-5-5. He is clearly breaking down like your boy Kobe. Oh, wait, no Wade has played more than 6 games this year.

    • kinggw - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      Obviously you care. Just because Kobe is breaking down doesn’t mean that LBJ is going through the same thing. Unfortunately for persons like yourself, LeBron has several years of his prime left.

      You sound bitter. You know Wade isn’t washed up, and you criticize Bosh for adding to his game. I guess you think hating on the Heat will make the Lakers better. Instead of ragging on Miami shouldn’t you be worried about the Lakers’ past their prime shooting guard/ power forward combo?

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:41 PM

        You mean past their prime point guard/shooting guard/power forward combo! We can’t forget about good ol’ Steve Nash!

      • kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        When Miami has 16 Championship banners let me know. When LBJ wins five rings let me know. Until then… nothing here to see.

      • kinggw - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        Pretty weak comeback. The Lakers have a 41 year head start on the Heat, they should have more titles. Kobe has a six year head start on Lbj. He should have more rings.

        Surely you can do better than the rings argument.

    • cantonbound13 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:24 AM

      LBJ has the PEDs to make sure he doesn’t break down. You’re 100% correct about the other 2.

    • bougin89 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      This really is incredibly ignorant. Don’t let your biased opinion overtake your rationale.

  10. rodge1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:38 PM


    Do you mean cry like Chicago fans cry when they find out D Rose is afraid of the Heat and declines to play in the playoffs even though he’s medically cleared?… No, I won’t cry if they leave. It’s been a great few years of Heat basketball and you haters trolling every single Heat article with your tears of envy made it even better. So by all means keep hating little hater, it’s flattering.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      I think the saying goes: If you don’t have haters, you’re not doing it right.

    • kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      Oh, quit whining! Most of you so called Heat fans will be gone from this site as soon as their “era” is over…which honestly should’ve ended last season. I bet all you cry babies were trolling the LAKERS and other teams when they were winning too. We’re all trolls!!

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:27 AM

        It wasn’t long ago all you saw were empty yellow seats at the AA Arena. Those days are not far away.

  11. golfrangeman - Apr 4, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Kb what are the facts? You are wrong on every perdition you make then you hide for a few days hoping everyone will forget. You talk about laker haters then you spend your time hating on the heat. So sad. One things for sure the Heat aren’t stupid enough to spend $50 mil on someone sitting on the bench

  12. loungefly74 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    The smart thing is to keep them together as long as they are winning…no brainer. of course, none of us can predict the future…who knows, D-Wade may take a dramatic decline soon after, somebody gets hurt, some stupid fued comes to a head (i.e. shaq & kobster), etc…but besides all the crap and speculation, the Heat are the best team in the league until somebody kicks them off the pedastal. just keep “double-downing” on the hand they are dealt…Lebron may have been right with his..”not 4,5,etc…”

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