by Ethan J. Skolnick
After discussing his draft night decisions, Pat Riley answered questions about the Heat’s veterans.
On Mike Miller: Riley said that the Heat veteran would let his back “calm down” for a couple of weeks before Miller and his doctors decide whether to have surgery. As for the other question, “We’re not looking at amnestying anybody.” Not this offseason, anyway. That shouldn’t be a great surprise. The real tax advantages come after next offseason. Riley has until July 19th to change his mind. “If Mike Miller, and I don’t want him to go through the same thing next year, could guarantee me a 7th game in the Finals, I would let him sit out all year.” Riley compared to Miller to Dan Majerle, who once went through an entire season as a starter without practicing once due to a back problem.
On Dwyane Wade: Riley said he spoke with the guard about Wade’s knee, and whether to skip the Olympics. Riley said it was in Wade’s “best interests,” and that “this is a big year for Dwyane. He’s played with a style over the years that may not be conducive to longevity. He’s always on the floor, he’s always above the rim. We want to make sure, and he does too, that whatever’s been ailing him will be corrected this summer…. Yeah, I think he made a wise choice.”
On Dexter Pittman: Riley said the Heat would allow the young center’s contract to guarantee on Saturday, meaning that Pittman will be with the Heat in summer league and in training camp. “Big guys, especially when you draft them late, it’s a two or three year project,” Riley said.
On Eddy Curry: Riley didn’t commit to a return, but said he would talk to the center about the future.
On Chris Bosh: Riley disputed the notion that the Heat plays small ball with Bosh at center, and said that will continue some. “We have a legitimate power forward, and that’s LeBron James, who’s not a power forward but he’s 6-8, 260, and he gets 15 rebounds a game when he plays the four spot.” Riley also reiterated that Bosh had a “significant abdominal injury” that would have kept the latter out longer if it hadn’t been the playoffs, and sounded like he wouldn’t mind if Bosh skipped the Olympics as well.
On free agency: “We’re encouraged that we can talk to some players that may be interested in taking a little bit less. There’s a lot of room out there this year, but there aren’t many teams that have a chance really to win a title. And I think a lot of veteran guys might be interested in something like that. So we have five or six guys earmarked, and we’ll see where it goes.” Riley said there isn’t just one type of player who can help the Heat. He’s simply looking for players who complement the Big 3′s versatility, and can help Miami “find as much space for LeBron and Dwyane and Chris to operate.”