Miami Heat team president Pat Riley has taken an indirect shot at former star LeBron James which suggests that their relationship did not end well.
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James opted to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer despite being urged to stay in Miami by Riley where the hope was that they could keep their core together and continue to fight for championships.
The 30-year-old went to four consecutive NBA finals during his stint on South Beach, winning two titles, but he had unfinished business in his hometown that ensured that he left Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh behind and created a new ‘Big Three’ with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
While the Cavs are a strong bet to make the NBA Finals this year, the Heat missed out on the playoffs as they struggled in the absence of James and health concerns cut Bosh’s year short.
Riley has previously gone on record this season to say that he was still confused as to why James left the franchise, but this is a more bitter sounding dig at his former player.
When it comes to free agency this year, Riley said there will be “no more smiling faces with hidden agendas,” according to ESPN.
It is assumed that the reference is to when James summoned Riley to a meeting in Las Vegas in free agency last summer to discuss his situation, when it became apparent that he had already made his decision to leave days earlier.
The two-time NBA champion confirmed his choice and swiftly moved to Cleveland, and so Riley still seemingly holds a slight grudge in terms of the way it was handled.
Nevertheless, he will be focused on building a new roster this year with Goran Dragic’s situation likely to be the first thing on the agenda, as the Slovenian could test free agency this summer despite only arriving in February.