Pat Riley after Heat’s early exit: “We will be back”

MIAMI – Pat Riley has identified an immediate priority for the Miami Heat: do nothing.

After a non-stop year, this is his requirement.

There will be more than enough time for roster decisions, off-season practice, combine and draft preparation even though Miami currently has no choice, building up a league team. summer and a free agency.

For now, however, Riley wants just about everyone in the organization to take a break from a 12-month whirlwind that saw an NBA Finals appearance one season, an outing another season at first. turn and while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic which has changed just about everything.

“We’ve been on this for a while, so we’re heading to rest first,” Heat chairman Riley said Thursday (Friday Manila time) in his annual state of play address. team that traditionally comes soon after the end of the season. “Our players, our staff, the people who are here every day, every day, are mentally more than physically tired. And I think they just need to rest for a few weeks, a month.”

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It was a major scenario in the NBA this season, how the compressed schedule and additional demands of the protocols that have been put in place to deal with the virus – including daily testing often late at night or early in the morning, limits on the amount of time teams could spend together, limits on who they could be with – would make players and teams work.

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It wasn’t an excuse, and Riley refused to make one. All the teams have been there, and it wasn’t easy for any of them.

“This season has been relentless.… I can’t wait to be the day I can wake up and I don’t have to worry about what time I have to step down into the arena to spend another screwed up test.” Denver coach Michael Malone said Thursday – a day the Nuggets had testing at 8 a.m. before an overnight playoff game. “I think this year has been the most difficult year of my 20 years in the NBA. It’s the mental toll, the physical toll, the emotional toll.”

Miami takes pride in its off-season training schedule, especially for its young players, and even a 41-year-old veteran like Udonis Haslem has said he won’t be taking much time this offseason.

But everyone just needs a break, even the Heat.

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“We’re not completely crazy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the series ended against Milwaukee. “We’re going to give them some free time. That’s the way this season has been. It’s been so difficult for everyone in this association. I didn’t know what month it was. I didn’t know what month it was. that it was Memorial Day weekend and when I mentioned it, several players and staff were there with me. It’s been that kind of year. “


The Heat reopened their facilities in May 2020 when the NBA allowed the resumption of limited training, and the place didn’t slow down until Miami was eliminated from this year’s playoffs by Milwaukee in of a sweep from the first round that ended last weekend. Practice last spring led to the run into the NBA Reboot Bubble at Walt Disney World, which led to an NBA Finals appearance, immediately followed by free agency and draft preparation. , followed by training before camp, followed by a camp and then the season.

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Much has been said about the 71-day gap between the end of the final and the start of this season and the fact that it was much shorter than usual, but the reality was that very few of those 71 days were inactive. Now, says Riley, there’s a chance to breathe.

“Anyone who’s involved in the family or the NBA industry, it’s been a tough year in terms of how you did your job versus how you got to do it now,” Riley said. “But, in anything in life, like I said, it doesn’t make a difference what happens to you – it’s the way you deal with it and you adjust, and everyone has had to. adapt.”

That said, Riley longs for a return to normalcy, which he believes could happen next season. He missed out on being a part of some of the things off the pitch that he says sets the Heat apart from other franchises, things like a charity gala, family festival, holiday parties and other events – some just for the team, some for sponsors, some for subscribers.

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He even wrote a letter to Andre Iguodala after this season, telling him how unhappy he is that he missed all of this in his year and more with the Heat. Iguodala was acquired in February 2020, less than a month before the pandemic forced the league to suspend this season.

“It’s going to get back – hopefully – to normal a bit next year when the season starts,” Riley said. “Everyone has more than enough free time to recharge their batteries. And then when we come back I’m sure there will still be COVID protocols, but they won’t be as drastic as they used to be. We’ll see what they are, but I think we’re on to bigger and better things. “


He will also take some free time. When he returns, summer work begins and he believes the Heat will find a way back to contender status.

“Have a great summer,” Riley said. “There will be a lot of news along the way, but again, just a final shout to our fans and everyone is that we will be back.”

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About Myra R.

Myra R.

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