Pat Riley Sends Message to Miami Heat Fans That Are Unhappy With Team

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In the nearly one month since NBA free agency began, Miami Heat team president Pat Riley and his staff have been relatively quiet, with only the re-signing of Wayne Ellington making any sort of news. That’s led to some frustration for some Heat fans that want a return to the glory years, but Riley is urging them to remain patient.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald spoke to Riley on Friday and indicated that the time frame for making any major moves is likely another two years. That likely won’t make the Heat fan base happy, but Riley believes that an adjustment for some is a necessity.

“I talk to a lot of fans,” he said. “I’ve given speeches to our season ticket holders and our sponsors and talked to people. And what comes across social media — or what some fan who might be a real diehard Heat fan might show in frustration — [is] because we are not what we were when we had the Big Three. We don’t have that kind of team right now. Somewhere along the line, people have to realize you are a basketball fan and you love the game.”

While aware of that building frustration, Riley was more blunt in effectively saying that some of the fans need a reality check when it comes to their expectations.

“If any fan out there is unhappy or angry we didn’t go out and get LeBron James or Kevin Durant or Boogie Cousins (DeMarcus Cousins) or whatever else they felt that they would want us to get probably didn’t realize we couldn’t get them anyhow, that we couldn’t trade for them,” Riley said. “There are things I read [where] people are so uninformed about the rules and what we can and cannot do until one of you [reporters] – and most of the time you do that – [say] we couldn’t make that move.”

Riley pointed out that simple activity when it comes to player personnel isn’t always needed and that continuity can have benefits. At the same time, he made a point to note that only a small portion of Heat fans would fit into the category of being impatient.

“You don’t ever want to make a trade for the sake of making a trade; you just don’t want to do that [and say] let’s do something because everybody is upset,” Riley said.

“Every now and then people have to step back, even the organizations, and take a deep breath and get ready for another season. That’s what we’re doing and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the continuity of our players. Our players don’t like to be perceived [how they’re being] perceived as a team and maybe where they are going to finish. That always serves as motivation.

“I don’t feel that level of anger [from Heat fans]…. There are fans that write in that want more. We try to address it and let them know that you have to have a little patience at times. Right now, we are in that period of hoping our fans will have just a little patience and let this thing grow.”

One reason that Riley remains positive is because the team that’s won the last four Eastern Conference titles, the Cleveland Cavaliers, lost James in free agency. While Boston and Philadelphia have plenty of talent returning, the upheaval in Cleveland and in Toronto could open the door for Miami to make a move.

“This year is a pivotal year for these guys to try to dispel the notion and the perception out there that we are who a lot of people think we are,” he said.

“We are going to be a very competitive team. One thing we have going for us is we have familiarity, we have continuity. There is a system that’s been intact here. If it’s a free for all [in the East], I’m all for that because I think the door is wide open for almost anybody to do something very good.”

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.