After a quiet draft night for the Miami Heat, team president Pat Riley explained why this summer might not be a very enjoyable one for the fans.
Riley developed a reputation for convincing the league's biggest names to join his organization. His negotiating powers landed the Heat Shaquille O'Neal, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh in the past; and the team has won three championships as a result. However, this offseason could be bereft of notable activity.
With the team already $19 million over the NBA's $101 million salary cap and just under the $123 million threshold, there's not much wiggle room, especially as 10 players are still under contract.
Speaking to the press on Friday, via the Miami Herald, Riley told reporters that a draft pick did not make much sense for the Heat given their financial situation.
"There were opportunities for the Heat to make a draft night move to get a pick, but they decided it wasn’t worth it," he said. “When you get into the second round, it’s like a lottery, it’s like a game of Monopoly, it’s not worth it. We feel like some of the players that were picked in the second round, and very good players, we already have a couple of [summer-league] players we know are going to sign after July 1, at least one.”
The Heat have been rumored as one of the landing spots for Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, they're also thought to be a potential destination for LeBron James. But Riley isn't aiming to raise expectations and has poured cold water on any suggestions linking his team to a big-name star.
"We look at this as maybe a two-year run," he continued. "We’re a playoff team, we’re a playoff contender. How are we going to improve? It’s going to be from within or the possibility of some transaction that might happen. It’s not going to be easy. But to answer your question, I think yes this could be – not a passive summer – but it might not be the kind of summer that you may think that something big can happen from that standpoint.”
The future of veteran guard Dwyane Wade has been an avenue for speculation this summer. And it's one Heat supporters want sorted at the soonest as Wade remains a fan favorite despite his departure from the team in 2016.
He is a free agent at the moment and is likely to call curtains on his illustrious career. And while Riley hasn't had a one-on-one with the player, he confirms he spoke to his agent and shared texts.
“I haven’t talked to Dwyane,” he said. “I’ve talked to his agent. I think now over the next nine days between now and July the 1st, now we can focus on all these things. We’ve shared texts. He’s communicated on a regular basis with a lot of people in the organization, but nothing has been decided with Dwyane. We want to have Dwyane back obviously, but there’s been no discussion about next year.”
Udonis Haslem is also another veteran whose future is unclear at the moment, but Riley has declared that the forward has earned the right to make a decision on his own time.
“Absolutely,” he replied after being asked if he wanted Haslem to return. “Both Udonis and Dwyane...they’ve been together forever and they also deserve the respect to sit and wait on this thing. And so there’s no rush. Besides, he’s becoming an entrepreneur. I can’t even talk to him anymore. I can invest with him, but I can’t get in touch with him.”
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