Miami Heat president Pat Riley met with the media Friday to discuss some topics concerning the free agency summer of 2010. The long-time coach of the team took personal offense to many criticisms of the Heat throughout this long process and left no prisoners with his statements.
For Cavalier fans, it is a story that will never die and continues to haunt every single day. As much as the city of Cleveland wants to put the entire LeBron James era in the backseat now, the story will continue to be a major attention grabber for years to come.
Riley extended the news cycle of the two acquisitions of James and Chris Bosh. From comparing James to another Eastern Conference forward to lashing back at Charles Barkley, the comments are almost comical if they weren’t meant to be so serious.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is receiving the majority of the credit for bringing Riley’s quotes to story form. Enjoy some of the highlights below before jumping into the player comparison for James:
“I take a little bit of umbrage to some of the things that came from people in our game that all of a sudden have become the moral conscience or moral authority on the decisions that every team or some individual might make concerning his life or his career. I don’t know what happened to some of these guys along the way.”
“Charles Barkley, to me, went way over the top. I thought way, way, way over the top. I think Charles is probably the only guy in the league that can get away with what he gets away with. For some reason, he just gets away with it. And calling these guys a bunch of punks, it’s a personal attack. They are not that. LeBron isn’t that. Dwyane is surely not that, and neither is Chris. And Charles knows that. And for him just to say that is wrong.”
While lashing out about a “punk” statement and “moral authority” might be over the top, it was not the end for Riley with the media yesterday.
The next topic of concern was Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and head coach head Stan Van Gundy. Smith famously said that he thought James “was more of a competitor” while the former Heat head man Van Gundy attacked the relationship between the two players.
Riley fired back by attacking their own signings for that team and continuing to try and build some credential for his new super power of a team.
“Stan’s out there making comments about Chris Bosh being a lapdog to Dwyane Wade or something like that. “I don’t know what happened to some of these guys along the way…. I thought that was an absolutely stupid remark. He [Smith] never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract or anything like that.”
I’m sure it is nice for fans and players on the Heat that Riley is out there defending that organization, but from a media perspective there is no good that can come out of this situation. The story has been going on and on for the past four months, let alone the past three years, and the season is about to start.
The best way for Miami to ever prove the critics wrong will be to win. And if they do that soon with their odd assortment of a supporting cast and three “best friends,” it will change the competitive balance and future player movement in the NBA for decades to come.
Picture above via Alexia Fodere / Miami Herald