Micky and I have come to an agreement. Continuity is important.To be honest, with the uncertainty of free agency looming over the franchise coupled with his ubiquity in recent videos and promotional materials urging season ticket holders to renew, I hadn't given much thought to Riley himself being a free agent. However a very interesting tidbit came to light even while he endorsed Erik Spoelstra as having a good season as a coach.
I'll do whatever is in the best interest of building the team here. Period. Whatever it takes, OK? I'll let you fill in the blanks. If some free agent were to say, 'I will come here but you must do this,' well, hell, if that happens that day, then I might have to give it some thought.After a couple of seasons away, Riley basically has just said his return to the sidelines could be procured from Lebron James, Amaré Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, or maybe his own max free agent. It's not like this hasn't happened before when Riley swiped the head coaching job back from Stan Van Gundy in 2005, presumably at the behest of Shaquille O'Neal (who was allegedly not a fan of Van Gundy) or perhaps just because he wanted to. From the way Riley then proceeded to thoroughly outcoach his younger counterpart Avery Johnson en route to his last championship ring in the 2006 NBA Finals, it may just be the case that Riley can't let the franchise be led by his own young protégé and go through that on the losing side anymore in the playoffs. Let's not forget this historical perspective from Adrian Wojnarowski in 2005.
Pat Riley needs to stop framing this as some noble return to his passion, and tell the truth. His ego could never stay in the background and let Stan Van Gundy get the shot at bringing that championship parade to the shores of Biscayne Bay. Suddenly, coaching the Heat is a glamour job again, and Riley's ego would never let him sit that out.Suddenly the Heat offseason somehow got that much more interesting, even with Wade a free agent and almost no one under contract. Having a legend in the sidelines that's also willing to give you max money just might be enough to make Lebron James want to pause and consider whether he'd really like to continue being coached by Mike Brown or someone who has seven rings to his name as a player and coach. For all the talk of why Lebron would leave such a stacked team like the Cavs or why any other max agent would want to sign with the Heat instead of a supposedly better team like the Chicago Bulls, wouldn't they have to consider a dynastry trio with Riley and Dwyane Wade? Last month's news that the cap space would be larger than previously believed also will make it easier for Riley to retain Udonis Haslem or go after a midlevel player (think James Posey circa '06) that could make a difference for a deep playoff run. Of course the Heat aren't championship material just yet. But "yet" is precisely what Riley has been selling to season ticket holders with promises of a dynasty to come. Today's news indicate that Riley may take a decidedly more hands-on approach then imagined.