ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said today that Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is looking to make a splash for the President of Basketball Operations job vacated by Magic Johnson. And the name he’s heard recently is Pat Riley. Smith added that he doesn’t think Riley will join the Lakers, though.
Stephen A Smith on Lakers owner Jeanie Buss being interested in hiring Pat Riley to replace Magic Johnson pic.twitter.com/AWtVNWZj43— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 19, 2019
At his end-of-season press conference last Saturday, Pat Riley shot down any rumors that he would leave the Heat to rejoin the team he coached to four championships in the 1980s. He also told ESPN’s Dan LeBatard two months ago that he won’t retire until the Heat win another title.
For all the criticism Smith absorbs for his on-air persona, there’s no doubt that he has developed longstanding relationships with lots of people in the NBA. Let’s not forget that it was Smith who first reported that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would all sign with the Heat before free agency kicked off in 2010.
I just reported on my show that LeBron James is heading to S. Beach -- with Chris Bosh -- to team with Dwayne Wade and Pat Riley. Here's the— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 28, 2010
Riley and LeBron James greeted each other warmly after Wade’s final NBA game in Brooklyn last week. Was that a simple greeting, or was there more to it?