Heat's Riley agitated at suggestions of rebuild

Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:24pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Less than a week after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, Miami Heat President Pat Riley lashed out on Thursday at the notion his team needs to be rebuilt.

The Spurs won the best-of-seven final 4-1 to snap the Heat's two-year championship run. Miami is the first team to play in four straight finals since Boston from 1984-87.

"Media, Heat players, organization, all of our fans, they've got to get a grip on greatness," Riley told a new conference. "I've been here for 45 years in the NBA and I've witnessed dynasties, I've witnessed great teams.

"The Spurs in 17 years won five titles, so you add it up. What's the math there? They lost 12 times. This stuff is hard. You've got to stay together, if you've got the guts.

"You don't find the first door and run out of it, if you have an opportunity."

Riley's rant appeared to be a plea for LeBron James to stay in South Beach. James, a four-time NBA most valuable player, can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason sign elsewhere.

Although the other members of Miami's Big Three, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, can also leave via free agency, James, the league's best player, has the most options.

"The four years we've had with LeBron, we hope turns into another eight or 10," said Riley, a five-time NBA champion as a coach. "So that's how I'm looking at it. All three of the so-called Big Three have opt-outs (of their contracts).

"It's their choice. They've created the flexibility. They'll think about it ... I love LeBron. He knows that. He knows how we feel about him. He's a winner.   Continued...

 
Miami Heat president Pat Riley enters the stadium prior to the game against the San Antonio Spurs in game two of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports