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Pat Riley Takes Subtle Jab at LeBron James, Confident Goran Dragic Won’t Bolt
- Updated: April 21, 2015
Pat Riley has never been one to sugarcoat things. During his final press conference of the 2014-15 season, that attitude did not change one bit.
There were a number of highlights from Riley’s end-of-season session—he addressed topics relating to Goran Dragic‘s return, the Miami Heat missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and even a subtle jab at LeBron James.
Though Riley quickly dismissed the notion that he was referring to LeBron or any single person, it’s hard to overlook what he said in regards to the organization’s approach entering the NBA Draft this year:
“No more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean….That could be anyone across the board.”
The Heat president was asked later about James’ departure last season in which he replied, “Yes, I’m at peace with it.”
Wow. Rilley on the uncertainty of building last summer not knowing about LeBron, “No more smiling faces with hidden agendas.”
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) April 20, 2015
While the supposed reference to LeBron will get the most attention from the media, the most important subject pertained to the impending free agency of Dragic. The 28-year-old point guard has already declared his intentions of declining his player option to become a free agent. Riley sounded confident that Dragic would indeed re-sign with Miami. Here’s what he had to say:
“If he doesn’t sign (while laughing), my a– is going to be in that [media] seat next year and I’ll be writing about it….There has not been any indication, any decision with he or his representatives about anything other than when I gave up two picks for him, you roll the dice. But you also feel good about the fact that we’re in a very good position to offer him more than anybody else.”
The 70-year-old NBA legend also questioned the Heat’s toughness and ability to play through injuries:
“I’d like to change the narrative for our team and getting back to what being a professional athlete is all about. Being a professional athlete is you’re not going to always feel well. And you’re not going to always be 100 percent.”
He stressed that he would like to see the Heat at full strength next season. While on this topic, he included players like Dragic and Luol Deng—players who could both become free agents this offseason:
While Miami had a disappointing year after four consecutive NBA Finals berths, there is no doubt that Riley will have them back on the path to winning in the very near future. The Heat will very likely have a top 10 draft pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Not only that, but they will bring back key players such as Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside, Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts healthy for the 2015-16 campaign.
Riley on the future of the @MiamiHEAT: “I think we’ll be right back competing unlike a lot of other people think we can.”
Although the 2014-15 season is officially in the books, it’s now time for Heat Nation to look ahead.