Pat Riley has received indelible praise for his ability to bring talent to his franchise, but why doesn't he take the hits when they leave?
Out three superstars in the last two years, the Miami Heat are between mediocrity and a hard spot.
First, the Heat lost LeBron James to his old haunt, then Dwyane Wade to his. Now, due to his blood clots, it looks certain that Chris Bosh has played his last game in Miami.
Though Bosh won’t suit up for Miami this season due to non-basketball issues, the ex-Big Three all have something in common: animosity—spelt like Pat Riley.
Riley, the Heat’s president and mastermind, wouldn’t give James, a man that won him two rings, the power he wanted; James fled for someone who would. Wade wanted Riley & Co. to show him the appreciation he felt he deserved. No dice, so Wade left the franchise that raised him for the city he hoped still loved him.
Bosh is a different story, yet someone how he still feels slighted.
Is Riley the mastermind we all think he is? Is losing three Hall of Famers in two years a genius’ work? On paper, it sure doesn’t look great.
Riley was reportedly even James’ “secret motivation” for winning a title. James wouldn’t name names, but a certain someone told the three-time Finals MVP that he was making the “biggest mistake” of his career, returning home for Cleveland.
During Wade’s contract negotiations, Riley never even called Wade, the Heat’s greatest player in franchise history. Not surprisingly, Riley has expressed regret for not trying to, really, do anything during Wade’s free agency. At the time, I guess, Wade wasn’t worth his time.
It’s not the first time Riley’s rigid, my-way-or-the-highway thought process hasn’t worked out. (See: LeBron James.)
Riley gets a large portion credit for bringing the Big Three together, but what about his part—or lack of one—in their dispersal?
Bosh’s blood clots having nothing to do with Riley, but, the way he dismissed Bosh after he wasn’t cleared by Heat team doctors on Sept. 23 was.
“We feel that, based on the last exam, that his Heat career is probably over,” Riley said on the Heat’s media day.
The Heat Organization versus Bosh has proven—weird: the last member of the Big Three Era is being treated like some fan who just wandered into the practice facility, rather than the man who’s put countless hours into this team’s success.
Regardless of fault, this situation could’ve been handled better, more gracefully.
Like in relationships, you don’t walk out on your marriage unless you’re unhappy, or you’ve found something better; so which one was it for Wade and James? It looks like both.
I don’t think Mark Cuban is letting his Dirk Nowitzki’s go sour, even if he has to bend backwards and touch his toes. Especially not twice.
Pat Riley is in charge of the Heat’s long-term “relationships.” Building a team is great, but keeping them happy once they’re together is the hard part.
“Love is easy, relationships are hard,” someone once said. I guess that rings true even in sports, and especially for Riley. What good is getting yourself into relationships, basketball and interpersonal, if you can’t maintain them.
So, a demanding, rigid basketball fuhrer is only tolerable through the honeymoon? Who knew?