Riley confident that Miami will be competitive in the Eastern Conference…
Miami Heat president Pat Riley has insisted that the franchise has recovered from the loss of LeBron James and he is no longer hurt over the situation.
James sealed his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month which left Miami in a state of disarray as speculation suggested that there would be an entire roster shake-up.
However, Riley was able to secure the futures of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade after bringing in the likes of Luol Deng, Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts, and he believes that despite the loss of the best player in the league, the Heat will continue to be competitive in the Eastern Conference next season.
“No doubt we lost a great player,” Riley said of losing James, ESPN reports.
“I don’t get hurt. … The hurt didn’t last long. We picked up the phone and went to work. Sometimes, things happen that you don’t like, but you have to move on. I feel really good about where we are right now at this moment. I feel we are up to the challenge and will be as competitive as anyone in the Eastern Conference.”
James signed a two-year contract worth $42m to return to Cleveland but insisted that his decision was beyond merely considering the basketball aspects of the situation as he is desperate to deliver an NBA championship to the organisation and fans in his hometown.
However, he will not have to wait long before facing his former team-mates as the Cavaliers play Miami on October 11 in a pre-season game in Brazil as part of the NBA Global Games schedule.
Riley insists that the opportunity to build a dynasty in Miami was ended prematurely by James opting to leave, but ultimately he is confident that he will have the financial flexibility and pieces on the roster to construct another dominant team in 2016.
With the likes of Kevin Durant expected to be available in the free agency market, Riley revealed that the plan was always to be a “major player in free agency” in two years time, and as a result they will continue to rebuild after James’ departure.