Miami Heat president Pat Riley met the media on Thursday and said that he wants LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to return and bounce back from their NBA Finals defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, via ESPN.com's Michael Wallace:
"I don't think we've got to recruit Chris, Dwyane or LeBron," Riley said Thursday. "I'm not dropping rings on the table for those guys. They could drop their own."
Riley said he's met with all three players over a two-day span this week and relayed that he and team owner Micky Arison is willing to do "whatever it takes" to for them to move forward and contend for championships for several more seasons.
Riley addressed the rumors of the three of them opting out and taking pay cuts in order to facilitate the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, who can also opt out and become a free agent. He didn't quite rule it out, but said that the plan is to stay the course, via ESPN:
"That's a pipe dream," Riley said, without mentioning the name of a potentially targeted player. "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream. That's not where we're headed."
"It's not about options. It's not about free agency," Riley said. "It's about what we've done over four years. It's about looking around the room now and seeing who is going to stand up. Those four years we've had with LeBron, we're hoping to turn them into eight or 10. We're not walking around on eggshells anymore."
Riley insists he's not overcome with pressure or anxiety at this point.
"How can we keep the guys together?" Riley said. "We're prepared. We've got the main thing all written up. Whatever it takes to keep them together, we're ready for. Let's stay here and try to keep this thing going."
Riley added that the team ran out of steam, and that it needs to retool but not rebuild. He also defended Wade, who has taken ample criticism for his disappointing performance against the Spurs, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
"Dwyane is a champion, a Miami Heat for life," Riley said. "He is examined more than anyone else. . . . You can criticize him on his performance. But he isn't a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately guy or a Johnny-do-nothing. That's an insult for a guy since 2003 who has made magic for us.
"Since 2003 on, our world has changed. Does he have to reinvent himself? Absolutely. Does Erik have to reinvent a little bit? Yes he does. It's going to take execution and coming back with a great resolve."
Bosh has been clear that he wants to come back. As for James, who has said as little as possible about his future, Riley sounded optimistic but didn't reveal a whole lot, via the Sun Sentinel:
As for his exit meeting with James, Riley said, "He was restless. He wanted to get out of town with his family."
Of his relationship with James, Riley said, "It's a texting relationship. It's a short meeting in the hallway. He knows I love him. He knows I respect him."
Riley added that the Heat probably asked too much of the 38-year-old Ray Allen, who could retire, that Chris Andersen was slowed by an injury suffered against the Pacers and that the team needs to get younger, via Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick. He knows, though, that those things pale in importance compared to what happens with James, Wade and Bosh, and said that he's prepared for July 1.
Riley referred to everyone going somewhere else as his "worst nightmare."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 19, 2014