Blog Entry

Four options for Riley

Posted on: November 29, 2010 6:42 pm
So there's trouble in paradise, but what happens next? Here's a look at Pat Riley's options as he tries to turn his Super Team into a team that can actually function:

* Fire Erik Spoelstra and take his job: As Phil Jackson said, it's SVG 2.0. The problem is, sources say Riley would only come downstairs as a last resort because A) he really doesn't want to coach anymore, and B) he knows that the same roster flaws that are sabotaging Spoelstra would do the same to him. Also, this isn't exactly Dwyane Wade's idea of a solution; Wade and Riley butted heads in the past. Personally, I think it would be eye-opening for LeBron James to be coached by someone with experience and championship rings -- someone who could put him in his place.

* Fire Spoelstra and hire someone else: This would be the ultimate sign of how wing-heavy and flawed this supposed dynasty really is: Riley fires Spoelstra, his handpicked protégé, and hands the job to ... Ron Rothstein? Well, that's not going to happen. But really, who's out there? Mike Brown? LeBron's been down that road in Cleveland, and the road ends in a spectacular, five-car pileup in the playoffs. Mike Woodson? For what, to run an even less creative offense?'s Matt Moore mentions two intriguing coaches who are currently unemployed: one credible (Jeff Van Gundy) and one straight out of Frankenstein (Don Nelson). I believe JVG is done coaching; he has a much easier and better job making fun of Mike Breen on TV. Plus, I can't imagine him doing that to his brother, Stan, in Orlando. Nellie? If someone could get him out of his hammock in Maui, they should make this happen tomorrow. Why? Not because it makes sense or the Heat would finally figure out how to play together and win a championship. Who cares about that? It should happen because the Earth would shift, the island would move, blinding lights and screeching noises would overwhelm us ... yes, it would be the basketball version of "Lost." Nellie, the connoisseur of ill-fitting basketball parts, chowing down on this disjointed beast of a team in Miami? It would be delicious on so many levels. If the Heat hired Nellie, I might move to Miami just so I wouldn't miss a minute of the hilarity.

* Stick with Spoelstra for the season and then score a coaching free-agent coup: Sadly, this is the most realistic of the options so far. If Riley really wants no part of this, then he could make it right with another offseason of roster tweaks and a chance to make a run at two very good coaches whose contracts will be up: Nate McMillan and Doc Rivers. McMillan is a fine coach, but I don't think he's the right fit for LeBron and Wade for the same reasons Spoelstra isn't the right fit: too upright and too averse to up-tempo offensive basketball. Speaking of which, Mike D'Antoni always seems to be a three-game losing streak away from being on the hot seat, even though he's spent the majority of his Knicks tenure coaching a D-League team. So if James Dolan ever has the urge to fire D'Antoni, I'd hire him in Miami in about three seconds. For one thing, D'Antoni would get to coach the two players he thought he'd be coaching in New York, only in a warmer climate. For another, I bet he'd enjoy paying no state income tax and saying good-bye to $7,000-a-month real estate tax bills in Westchester County. And finally, D'Antoni was the right coach for LeBron and Wade all along. He'd loosen the reins, let LeBron run the point and be Magic Johnson, and outscore everybody 130-117. But the most intriguing coach in this scenario, by far, is Rivers, who has the patience, presence, and pedigree to give LeBron and Wade just enough leeway while also commanding their respect. Plus, Florida is home for him, and any time you can trade an old Big Three for a younger version and cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time, I'd say that would be a pretty good career move.

* Tell LeBron and Wade to quit whining, look in the mirror and figure it out: Of all the intriguing options, I like this one the best. To be fair, it isn't just the players who have to adjust; Spoelstra will have to change, too, by putting the ball in LeBron's hands and getting him in transition and in the open floor to create -- for Wade, for Eddie House and Mike Miller (once healthy). LeBron holds the key to this approach. He's the one player on the roster -- perhaps the only one in the league -- with the breadth of talents to adjust his game and make it fit with an elite scorer like Wade. I don't think Wade is built that way. He scores; that's what he does. LeBron can do it all, and he can do so much more than what he's doing now if he'd check his ego and if Spoelstra would be willing to give up some control. It's a slippery slope, but more promising than the one the Heat are currently sliding down.

Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:51 pm

Four options for Riley

On Doc Rivers....... "cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time"
Last I checked Doc has one title to his name as a coach!  Better get a lot of cement!
Wake me up when he gets to the Popovich level!

That line made me shake my head too.  And I'm a Celtic fan.  Doc, while being a very good coach, is far from being one of the most decorated coaches of all time.  He's only won one NBA title and Two conference titiles.  I don't think that puts him in Red and Phil company.  Not evenPat Riley, or Popovich company. KC Jones,Daly,Fitch,Nelson,Ramsey,Wilkens? Nope not yet,  the list could go on and on before you get to Doc somewhere in the twenties.
As far as the Heat and LaBron.  If you told me right after the decision that the Heat would be barely above 500 after about a 1/4 of the season, I'd assume I'd be delighted.  I'm really not though, it's kind of a letdown.  Hopefully they can right the ship and be competitive so the Celts can wipe the floor with them come May. 

Spo is'nt the problem though.  These guys have to start understanting that talent alone does'nt win championships.  Heart and hard work are involved,(I'm not saying they don't work hard but to win you have to work harder than the next group even if that group is less talented) and it's not going to be "fun" day in and day out.  I thought DWade understood this but maybe BronBrons personality is just too strong.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:14 pm

Four options for Riley

"I think T-Mac was dead on in his analysis that D-Wade and LBJ don't do well on the court together because they both demand the ball to do their thing.  I almost wonder if at some point that one or the other has to go.  If that happens, which one will it be?"

Both those guys were the equivalent to Allen Iverson when he was with the Sixers and they were the stars of their own teams. I think Bosh could be dealt, would Dalembert be a better fit than Ilgauskas ?

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:57 pm

Four options for Riley

"If you shipped LBJ to New Orleans for CP3 and Okeafor, that Miami team would dominate."

What's in it for NO in that deal ? Being saddled with a prima donna quitter and then trying to win in the West with a team that is clearly weaker and less talented than what LBJ supposedly had in Cleveland ?

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:52 pm

Four options for Riley

Somehow, Spoelstra is going to have to get Ilgauskas to play at the level he did in Cleveland. He's not getting the minutes, not getting the stats. He needs to play like he's 7'3" and a starter in the NBA and not just a WWF freak show with movie props for special effects. You'd think with the other 3 players they have it would be easier for him to play 35-40 minutes and get double doubles every night. The 3 stars don't run like the Suns do, so it's not like Ilgauskas can't run the floor in the offense they have ?

I like option # 4, the Heat should be winning 2/3 of their games with who they have, if not be a juggernaut. If Ilgauskas can't produce, maybe bringing Mutuombo to Miami might get a center between the two of them splitiing playing time ?

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:40 pm

Four options for Riley

Why not just trade "Dung Boy" James back to Cleveland for Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison?  Wouldn't that be a hoot, Cleveland fans?  The WMMS curse continues to haunt "Dung Boy" and BUSH!  There is enough bad Karma floating over South Beach that they probably are mistaking it for smog!

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:33 pm

Four options for Riley

Five: Don't give $110,000,000 to two guys that play the exact same game and both need the ball in their hands to earn their paycheck.
Six: Don't give $110,000,000 to Chris Bosh under any circumstance unless a handgun, ski-mask and ransom note are invloved.
Seven: Remember to assemble a team that has a point guard and a center, which are the two most important positions on the court.
Eight: Their bench is on social security. That will be a huuuuuuggeee problem come playoff time if the Big Two and a Half keep having to play 40 minutes a night because the bench stinks.

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:42 am

Four options for Riley

Riley has a few rings. Wade has a ring. Lebron? He's on his way to becoming the Randy Moss of BB. More physical talent but the ultimate prima donna whose teams somehow never win it all.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:09 am

Four options for Riley

My God, I am enjoying watching the Heat come apart at the seams!  Lebron has manged to destroy all team chemistry in only 18 games.  Congratulations "chosen one" you got what you wanted, now enjoy being a 45 win team and losing in the first round.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:57 am

Four options for Riley

To me Dwade is the issue.  He couldn't play with Beasley (who is arguably as talented as Bosh) and now he struggles to play with Lebron and Bosh.  Lebron and Bosh have found good chemistry.  It is Wade who hasn't.

The solution is more simple.  Tell Dwade to adjust.   Let Lebron run the team at the wing.  Chalmers/Arroyo will stilll do PG although Lebron will run offense thru him.  Bosh will learn to rebound/defend more than score.   Riley is the guy that can force this philosophy.  Erick cannot...what other reason for him not doing this yet?

TMAC was right in that DWade and Lebron struggle cause they have the same roles.  Gotta make roles obvious.  Not share em.  Wade is the scorer/defender/gambler....Lebron runs the show.  You do that and get Bosh to rebound; you will be best team in league.

Since: Aug 27, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:54 am

Four options for Riley

If you shipped LBJ to New Orleans for CP3 and Okeafor, that Miami team would dominate.  The parts would fit together.  It's funny because a team like the Knicks who "lost out" in the LeBron sweepstakes and still is in tremendous cap shape will see what they should really do with all of that cap space.  The Miami Heat:  A horrendous experiment in team chemisty that will lead to the successful formation of other NBA superteams in the future?

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