Friday, May 20, 2011

The Myth of Pat Riley

Pat Riley didn't win the executive of the year alone. He shared the honor with Gar Forman, the GM of the Bulls. He should share his share with the Big 3.

Sports loves the dramatic story. The plucky underdog. The old favorite coming back for one more swing.

The notion that Pat Riley did all the heavy lifting to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to join the Heat this past summer is a joke. The narrative seems to be that both LeBron and Bosh had no intention of leaving their teams, and that Riley stepped in with a godfather proposal.

How hard is it to gut your team and cut costs with no fear of losing your job? The Heat traded the #2 pick in the 2007 draft, Mike Beasley to the Timberwolves for a few second round picks. The cut guys. They did almost as much as the Knicks did to clear cap space.

Then Pat went to work. He showed LeBron his rings. Let him run his fingers through his slicked back hair. So LeBron, amazed by this force of nature, changed his mind.

There was no way that DWade, Bosh and LeBron cooked up this idea at the Olympics in 2008! How dare you? (Sarcasm) The fact that they all signed identical deals after their original rookie contracts ended with 4 year deals with a 4th year player option, which they all took, was just a big coincidence.

Without Pat Riley these guys would never see the light. They wouldn't know how easy and fun it would be to compete for a title with two of the best players in the NBA and a perennial all star. Miami Florida is a hard sell. When you are competing with hotbeds like Cleveland and Toronto. That's in CANADA for god's sake! Everyone wants to play there.

Convincing these guys to play with amazing teammates in amazing weather with amazing clubs and women and amazing taxes? That is hard work. Who wants to do that?

Yeah, but he convinced them to leave money on the table! Yeah, sure. They got sign and trades, so they got their 6th year that they didn't give their original teams. Without the taxes, they are still making close to what they would have made in their original cities.

Pat Riley's greatness is a myth. He inherited a team with Magic, Kareem and James Worthy in Los Angeles. No one want to play there. Almost as many bad things going on there as in Miami. He went to New York and guess what? HE DIDN'T WIN. Still had a great place to recruit, but it didn't work out. So then he figured it out. Nice weather. He went to Miami and low and behold Shaq came. And he and the refs won a title in Miami.


Let's see Pat Riley go to Toronto and turn them into a champion. Or how about Cleveland? Milwaukee? I would be impressed then.

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