Please see the next post (from Tuesday night) to check out Howard Schnellenberger's surprising comments about the upcoming UM-FAU game and his explanation for why UM's program has declined; the Dolphins signing a familiar name tonight; and some news on Dan Jennings' status with the Marlins.
Speaking publicly for the first time since June, Heat president Pat Riley told ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard Show that this revamped Heat team has all the pieces of a champion.
“I think this team has all of the elements of a championship team,” he said. “Whether or not you can ever win a championship will depend on a number of factors. I can list them and you can list them. It’s going to come down to this, health,… performance and this guy and that guy. It’s going to come down to can you make shots?...
“I think this team has the opportunity and the possibilities of being a contender. That’s where you start with a team like this. We have an opportunity to create a new first. That’s how I feel about this team…. I’m excited about this season.”
But he also said, “you’re asking the wrong guy” about whether this team can win a championship. "You know what I’m going to say. I was a coach, and I had five guys off the street, I would say we could win a championship. That’s either my naivety or competitive will.”
### Was he ever real concerned he would lose Dwyane Wade?
“Yeah, I had some concern because we have lost players before,” Riley told Le Batard and Jon Weiner. “…. There was a time I said anything is possible because of what had happened with LeBron. The landscape of the NBA now and player mentalities sometimes get into the way of the priorities that you have to face as a player and as also an organization. It really is more than ever a big --- big, capital letters --- business now.
“The business has grown tentacles so far from the court… that anything is possible. Deep down in my gut, Dwyane is a lifer here and I felt he and Micky [Arison] and Nick [Arison] would work it out. When you deal with a player like Dwyane at this stage in his career, it’s just not eyeball to eyeball with me and Henry Thomas, his agent. It got a lot more personal in a good way because the owner got involved in it because that’s how much we care about Dwyane.”
### Would Riley have thought would still be with the Heat 20 years later?
“I was 20 years in Los Angeles, which covered being a player, then being out a job, then being a broadcaster, then [coach]…. In New York I was there for four years.
"Being here for 20 years. I feel blessed. I really do. I feel blessed to be in one city with great people I’ve been with for a long time, a great owner in Micky, his wife Madeleine. We’ve become more than just boss and employee. We’ve become very good friends.
"It’s like all your firsts go away. Your first love goes away, your first girlfriend, your first baby… And then all of a sudden you have to create new firsts. We’ve had a lot of firsts here and they’re gone and now we have to create new ones…. Our dream, or my dream, of what we put together in 2010 had not shattered but had changed.”
### What keeps Riley going?
“House in Malibu, lived there for 30 years. We bought the house in 1988. That is 28 years, and so I’ve been it in 28 months. The other 11 months it just sits there. I got cameras on it every day and I look at it every day but it still does not want me to leave what I’m doing here, which is my first love, which is basketball. I love to compete and love to be part of it.
"As much as there’s that thought of ultimate freedom and going out there and doing whatever it is you want to do, I don’t know what that it. But I know this --- I’m pretty good at it. I’m excited about this season. I really am that we’re headed in a direction where we have a lot of firsts behind us and we’re going to start a new one…. Basketball is where I ought to be and where I want to be.”
### One more thing from Riley, on the Le Batard Show: "When I became Mr. GQ in 1988 is when things began to change for me with my relationship with the players. You have to watch out for that when you’re a head coach. I went through a period of time from 1987 to 90 where my ego got totally out of control…. But I was young, had a great team. We won all these championships. I was getting all this credit. Armani and I became good friends. I always loved clothes and that moniker sort of stuck.”
Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the next post (from Tuesday night) to check out Howard Schnellenberger's surprising comments about the upcoming UM-FAU game and his explanation for why UM's program has declined; the Dolphins signing a familiar name tonight; and some news on Dan Jennings' status with the Marlins.