Just like his hair, Pat Riley’s business persona is slick too. Don’t view him as a hip replacement kind of guy who sits back and calls players into his office. No, at 62 years old, he’s hip and still goes after the gems.
The other night, Riles wined and dined free agent Milwaukee Bucks point guard Maurice “Mo” Williams on South Beach. In fact, the Miami Herald reported that the legendary coach was hoping the temptation of SoBe would magnetize Williams to the sexy strip, in addition to playing alongside Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. But interestingly, now that it seems Yi Jianlian will sign with the Bucks, should Mo really entertain a Heat offer?
With Jianlian, the Bucks can be a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference next season along with Williams, Michael Redd, Bobby Simmons, Charlie Villanueva, Earl Boykins and Andrew Bogut. And the biggest plus for Williams is that he would be suiting up for a young team instead of an older Heat squad. Shaq and Alonzo Mourning will both be out of the league several years before Jianlian and Bogut reach their full potential as big men.
So, perhaps Riley is feeling a sense of desperation to lock in a point guard that is a triple-double threat every night. His recent memory points out that Wade had a triple-double against his alma mater Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Further back in time, there’s a reminder that he once had the triple-double wizardry and coaching luxury of Magic Johnson.
Heat fans are just beginning to get to know Williams, and what they’re reading is that Riley really wants him. It probably has more to do with him itching for a replacement for the current Williams, Jason the Jacker. Quite simply, the White Chocolate coating has melted away in sunny Miami. His dazzling range and passing aside, Jason Williams was too much of a spaz attack on the court which led to an increasingly high number of poor decisions, forcing Riley to stretch his neck out and loosen his tie one too many times. Toward the end of last season, J-Will’s role had been diminished to simply bringing the ball upcourt, dishing it off to Wade and then cutting away to the wing or baseline to wait for an open shot.
At the American Airlines Arena last year, there were too many heart-breaking moments for Heat fans; too many times the ball was carelessly thrown away or shot at the basket at the wrong time. Not to mention, the fans were frustrated by a depleting roster from a team that a year ago had just won the NBA championship. Unfortunately, Mo Williams doesn’t have the healthiest resume, but his youth, 100% current physical status and all-around game will benefit an aging team that needs a consistent sidekick for Wade in the backcourt. Make that a potential win-win for Riley too.