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Through the Net: June 30, 2009 - Pat Riley to Cleveland? edition

So there's been a lot of juice over the last couple days that because of the Shaq trade to Cleveland, it might be possible for the Cavs to lure one of the bigest coaching fish, Pat Riley, out of the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay, and it would be a positive career move for the Hall of Fame coach. Riley has come out to call it a "complete fabrication," but the talk is out there, and sometimes talk feeds talk. Let's play a little parlor game and assume the speculation is accurate. Should he go? It depends. [caption id="attachment_62" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Is he waving down a cab to catch the next flight to Cleveland? Don't bet on it; do they have Joe's Stone Crab on Lake Erie? Photo by Keith Allison"]Is he waving down a cab to catch the next flight to Cleveland? Don't bet on it; do they have Joe's Stone Crab on Lake Erie?[/caption] Does he want a different challenge? Riley has always been a man seeking a larger and larger platform, and the LeBrons present an awfully roomy stage. Does he want to abandon the legacy he's created in Miami? Can he mend the fences with Shaq after the post-trade words? Can the big-city guy last in the Midwest? "Riles" hasn't been in a "mid-market" city since he played for Phoenix in 1976. They have Armani suits in Arizona and Cleveland, of course, but it's not quite the same as rockin' the white on South Beach. So given the pros and the cons, will he actually pull the trigger if given the opportunity? I would say no way, no how. Riley has always been restless, but in the last few years he has settled nicely into place. To reward his committment, Riley has become kind of a demigod in the Miami sports firmament. Don Shula will always be "The Coach," but Riley has settled into the No. 2 position. At the Capital Grille downtown, they frequently host members of the Heat and the coaching staff. While Eric Spoelstra eats their very often, Riley is still called "Coach," and has his personal wine locker front-and-center when you walk in. I'm sure similar treatment has followed Riley ever since the "Showtime" era, but it's hard to build that again and again in different cities. And if he goes to Cleveland, he risks facing the label that many people are now trying to pin on Shaq; the "Hired Gun," who comes in and takes away jobs from coaches who could have won all on their own (Mr. Brown, there's a Stan Van Gundy on the line for you. Paul Westhead's waiting in the lobby). And all that's assuming that he actually does win a championship. Losing with the Cavs could be a final embarassment for Riley, instead of the triumph of 2006 (as always, please bypass 2007-2008 in your program). So it's scuttlebutt and speculation at the present time, and I think it's unlikely Dan Gilbert will honestly have a legitimate chance to fire the NBA Coach of the Year, especially before he receives his trophy. But it's not impossbile (Davey Johnson, line one). And if that domino does fall, expect an increase of inbound calls from the 216 to the 305. Just don't expect Pat to pick up; he'll be too busy on Ocean Drive.