After the Miami Heat’s improbable run to the NBA Finals, Pat Riley spoke to reporters about his priorities for the off-season Friday afternoon. (As a side note, this off-season could be shorter than any in recent memory, with the league targeting a Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 season.)
Riley wondered aloud whether his team is good enough to improve on its own or “do we need the next thing earlier?” He said he’ll talk with Erik Spoelstra about that. Aside from the other top teams in the East looking to improve — Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston — the Brooklyn Nets are looking forward to having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy again.
Pat Riley on if the Heat is good enough to just run it back pic.twitter.com/4lzx0vbjEc— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) October 23, 2020
This off-season presents a crossroads for Bam Adebayo. The 2020 All-Star suffered his first injury since his rookie season during the NBA Finals, and he’s eligible for a maximum extension. But convincing Adebayo to wait until the 2021 off-season to sign the extension would give Miami more cap space to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo or other star free agents. Speaking to reporters Friday, Riley said he wants to “take care” of Adebayo.
Pat Riley on Bam Adebayo: He’s a cornerstone and it would be in our best interest to do the right thing by him. pic.twitter.com/K2o47JPgm4— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) October 23, 2020
But Riley called the situation “dicey” because “We have to take care of our own, but we don’t want to surrender that opportunity if it’s there.”
The Heat have the 20th pick in next month’s NBA Draft, and Riley said that “whether or not we keep it remains to be seen.” Because Miami already traded their 2021 first-round pick in the trade for Goran Dragic back in 2015, they cannot trade this year’s pick until they’ve picked someone. Riley added that he’s “not concerned about having too many young players today.”
One of Miami’s impending free agents — Derrick Jones Jr. — went from a consistent role player to a fringe rotation player during the NBA Finals. Riley noted that the 2020 Slam Dunk Champion didn’t have much opportunity to play due to the midseason trade for Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, but said he feels bad for Jones.
I would expect Jones to leave in free agency. Once Erik Spoelstra used Solomon Hill over him in the Eastern Conference Finals and Finals, I didn’t see Jones staying.