Pat Riley has done it all. Be it as a coach or a basketball executive, there is nobody that compares to the current president of the Miami Heat. According to latest NBA Rumors, Riley is already preparing a recruiting pitch for superstar free agent Kevin Durant.
As a coach, Riley instigated the Showtime Era and led the Los Angeles Lakers to four championships in the 1980s. In 2004, he convinced Shaquille O’Neal to join Miami Heat and helped the franchise to its first-ever title (in 2006). Six years later, as an executive, he convinced LeBron James to come down to South Beach. The result? Heat made four back-to-back finals and won two more rings.
Simply put, Riley is the smartest basketball executive. Ever. This forthcoming offseason, Riley will have Durant’s attention. And if league sources are to be believed, Riley will pull all the stops to convince the Oklahoma City Thunder forward that South Beach is the destination-to-be.
Cap room issues…
Riley will have to convince free agent veterans Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng to sign bargain contracts, just so the team can 1) Sign free agent center Hassan Whiteside to a maximum extension, and 2) Sign Durant to a maximum contract. Could Riley pull it off? If anyone can, it’s him.
Now, why would Wade and Deng agree to take pay cuts? They could easily go elsewhere and take advantage of the skyrocketing salary cap, not to mention the fact that plenty of teams will be armed with abundant cap space. It’s simple: Riley will sell them on the idea of a championship.
Ever since LeBron returned to Cleveland, Riley has been trying to reconstruct the Heat into a title contender. This past offseason, Riley took positive strides in that direction by signing point guard Dragic and drafting promising rookie Winslow. Though the Heat (40-29) are seeded fourth in the East, they have emerged as the single greatest threat to Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.
If Riley’s vision comes to fruition, the Heat starting lineup could feature Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Durant, Wade and Goran Dragic. With that squad, Miami will begin the new season as the favorites to come out of the East and possibly challenge the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors for the championship.
Riley is nicknamed The Godfather for a reason. He’s the same guy who convinced Wade, Bosh and LeBron to take paycuts. Once again, it wouldn’t be wise to bet against Riley. By this time next year, Heat could very well be peaking for a championship run. It shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Stay tuned for latest NBA Rumors.