Pat Riley reflects on latest title, looks aheadPosted by Inside Hoops
”We’re the fugitive and they’re still coming after us,” said Riley, the Heat president. ”And that motivates the hell out of me. It really does, because I don’t want to get caught, not with what we have. And I don’t the players feeling like they can get caught, either. That’s why the improvement needs to come from within and we need to be smart about what we’re doing.”
Riley wrapped up the season with a 40-minute interview session Wednesday, opining on everything from his ninth championship season (”I’ve been lucky,” he said in a clear understatement) to coach Erik Spoelstra’s story that his boss came knocking on the door of his hotel suite after the 113-77 loss in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against San Antonio with three bottles of wine (”The wine was already there - and it was opened,” was Riley’s recollection).
Occasional laughs aside, Riley also pointed out repeatedly that the work awaiting the Heat in the coming months is serious.
”We’re just going to keep everything very fluid,” Riley said. ”I think that’s the key. What we just experienced, three straight years, (297) games, two consecutive world championships, we are so giddy about that and proud of our team and also excited that what we did three years ago has led us to this. The challenge is not ‘Can we win another championship?’ The challenge is how to manage it within the confines of a very punitive collective bargaining agreement.”
None of Riley’s proclamations about his hopes for next season’s roster were exactly surprising. First, as expected, he announced that the team is exercising its $4 million option on point guard Mario Chalmers, who has started every game in which he’s appeared in the past two seasons, with a knack for coming up big in the biggest moments.
Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press