This post was written by Zach Krantz from WQAM in Miami. The summer of 2010 is the equivalent to the Powerball for the NBA. The free agent class is the biggest of all time. Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade headline the class and Pat Riley will have the deepest pockets to dive into when it all happens. Riley will have the money to sign his superstar Dwyane Wade back and put another superstar with him. The only problem with that is he needs to make sure that Wade doesn’t bolt out of town when the summer begins. Wade hasn’t signed an extension yet and wants to see what the team looks like before he signs.
Riley is put into a position where he needs to keep his superstar happy, but also make sure he has a big piggy bank when next year’s free agency happens. The big question is, can he do both? Keeping Wade happy means the team has to be competitive this year, and Riley didn’t go out and get any names to make the team noticeably better. Will the team stay competitive while other teams in the East got better and with that, will he be able to keep Wade here with the promise of bringing another superstar to this team next year?
Pat Riley joined ESPN 980 in DC with John Thompson and talked about the shift in power in the NBA from West to East, his second year Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, and his #2 pick in the 2008 draft Michael Beasley.
Talking about the shift of power from the West to the East in the last few years:
“I see three teams at the top and you have to start with Orlando because they went to the finals, then Cleveland and Boston. All three of those teams have over the last 2-3 years developed their rosters in a way that they have become very mature with their young players, but also added great veterans like Garnett, Shaq, players like that. Those three teams are at the very top with the Lakers. The other teams are in the process of putting together the pieces. Atlanta with Joe Smith and Jamal Crawford, you take a look at Washington bringing Randy Foye and Mike Miller in, to go with a team that was really injured last year, and they could be to me, one of the best teams in the Eastern conference.”
Asked about what made he give Erik Spoelstra the Head Coaching job and expectations of him:
“When you start at the bottom, and you develop this base of reference and reservoir of knowledge from the bottom on up. He has really accumulated a lot of knowledge across the board about a lot of things. He studied all coaches, he studied all managers. He can reference and make analogies to things that I think are very important. What’s best about him with me is his work ethic and his ability to be able to plan practices that are efficient and coherent. So I know that I have got a coach that’s going to work real, real hard, that cares a lot about winning and hurts when he loses.”
Asked about the well chronicled offseason of 2nd year forward Michael Beasley:
“He came in what I said when I saw him, Karl Malone type shape. When he left after the season he went off somewhere and got caught up in the abyss of life and lost about 11 or 12 pounds. He is about 240 pounds and 6% body fat and he is absolutely just dominating practice right now. While he was in Houston for 60 days, 30 of them he was in house and we had two coaches with him every day. There was never a day he had off. Nobody understands where he came from, what his life might have been like. He is a product of his education, his environment and his experiences. We have a kid here that has an incredible opportunity to have an incredible upside, but he is going to have to realize he has to become truly professional about and we hope the steps he took over the summer will help him do that.”