Pat Riley: “I’m Ready To Roll Forward And Try To Make This Team Better”

With Miami’s 2020-21 season in the books, HEAT President Pat Riley spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon via Zoom about the team’s outlook moving forward, some impending free agents and much more.


Check out some notable quotes below.

On The Team’s Outlook Moving Forward & Having Financial Flexibility

“It doesn’t really make any difference what happens to you. It’s really how you deal with it. And for the last 25 years, that’s been the case regardless of what has happened during the regular season or during the playoffs. It doesn’t really make any difference how or what went down. It’s how you deal with it, it’s how you come back from it and how you adapt…despite the result of the Milwaukee series… we’re ready to move forward. We know what we have to do. We know the position that we’re in. We know that we have the flexibility that we need to go in a lot of different directions and either stay the same, either add to the mix. We know what we have to do, and we’ll do it. The market will probably determine a lot of that as we move forward, but I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy [Butler] and Bam [Adebayo].”

“Flexibility is a good way to go…we made a decision last year that what we would do is that we were going to try to preserve [salary cap] room. That’s what our plan was, and we worked that, I think, as best as we could to preserve room for this year. We’re going to have it. We’re not going to have a max slot, but we’re going to have a lot of room if we want to use that. But there’s so many other ways…that you improve your team. Obviously, we like our core. There are trades that you can make, there’s sign-and-trades, there’s free agency, we have room, exceptions.”

On Impending Free Agents, Kendrick Nunn & Duncan Robinson

“Both of those players have performed at a very high level, and they’ve really helped us...[Nunn]…can probe the defense, he can get to the basket, he can raise on threes, he can raise on floaters, on runners. He’s a hell of an offensive player…Duncan could be considered the top shooter in the NBA, so I applaud both of these guys for coming in with just very little reputation, no guarantees and winning their jobs, winning their spots and winning their time. They’ve had their ups and downs, but young players will. But we like both of them, and we’ll see what happens with them when it comes to the market.”

On Tyler Herro

“He’s a core player. That’s all there is to it…he’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out with him, but what happened to him going down the stretch, I actually thought he got better as a player. If you think about his first year or his first 35 or 40 games, he really was strictly a catch-and-shoot type of player coming off screens and catching and shooting. And the only way that he was ever going to become more of a complete offensive player is he had to improve his ball handling with both his right hand and his left hand, and he did. He’s an exceptional ball handler, and now he can create space and get into gaps and raise on jumpers from almost anywhere.”

On Bam Adebayo

“If he improves this year as much as he has over the last four years, then you’re going to get a better player next year…I think [Erik Spoelstra] has to evaluate a little bit how he uses Bam. Bam is one of our primary ball handlers and gets us into offense, and sometimes there is a disconnect between running offense and really being effective as an offensive player, so I think all of these things will be worked out. But I do know that we have one of the highest character, toughest guys in the league that really has a lot of talent. He still has a lot of upside. And I wouldn’t let what happened against Milwaukee deter him in any way, shape or form as far as what I think Bam can bring.”

On His Desire To Continue His Current Role With The Team

“I’m getting ready for the combine, and then we’re getting ready for the Summer League…I’m ready to roll forward and try to make this team better. I think we made some great strides, and for all of our fans out there, it was so great to be able to see the place packed, and I’m really disappointed that our fans didn’t really get to see what the HEAT really are like and what they’re about…just hang in there. Keep the faith. We’ll be back. We’re going to be back as we are every year.”

On Assistant Coaches, Malik Allen & Caron Butler

“I think both of them are great basketball people. Malik is an experienced coach now. Caron is somebody who I think has got greatness in him from a DNA standpoint, basketball standpoint, a life spent in adversity and in greatness standpoint. [He] has a lot to offer…so both of those guys, I think, did a great job.”

On People Discrediting The Bubble Last Year

“We were the best team, other than the Lakers, last year. We ended up in the Finals, whether it was the bubble or any place else. And so, I take pride in the fact that people will say that the HEAT and its culture were best suited for the disciplines needed in the bubble. And if that’s the case, then fine, then we had a little bit of an edge. I don’t think that’s solely the reason…it wasn’t easy…I do recall the competitiveness in those games…so what happened to us last year in the bubble was last year, and what happened to us this year is what happened this year, and we’ll have to deal with those circumstances…when people want to jump on [discrediting the bubble run] and say something negative about it, then that’s their problem, that’s their issue.”