Published November 20, 2014
Speaking Tuesday, more than a week after the Heat season ended with a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals, Miami's team president said that not winning the title was a disappointment — but insisted the season still had plenty of successes.
"I'll say it. I'm not afraid to say it," Riley said at his annual end-of-season availability. "We are going to be multiple contenders, OK? I have no problem saying that. We will contend. That's all it's about. When you have a team that can contend for a championship, that's what you want, because then you have a shot at winning.
"I know what everybody expected here, but it didn't happen," Riley added. "But we had a great season."
Riley said the team would add more pieces to complement LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh next season, plus was looking forward to seeing what can happen with a healthy Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, both of whom had their 2010-11 campaign marred by injuries.
He also said Erik Spoelstra would coach, shooting down any notion that the Hall of Famer was considering a return to the bench.
"No, I'm not going to," Riley said.
Riley ended his Hall of Fame coaching career in 2008, before tapping Spoelstra as his replacement. Spoelstra has a 148-98 record in three regular seasons, along with a 18-15 mark in postseason play.
"It doesn't mean that I don't have the fire," Riley said. "But we have a great young coach here and I want to support him and hope that he can grow like I did. This is just his third year."
Riley said he expects Miami's so-called "Big 3" to get better during the offseason as well, noting that Bosh will likely add some bulk in the weight room and that James wants to do more to round out his game, which has already earned him two MVP awards.
"He's the most unique player in the NBA and we're blessed to have him," Riley said of James, adding that too much of the criticism for the team's loss to Dallas in the NBA finals went his way.
Riley called the way last summer went, when he helped convince the three All-Stars to team up in Miami, one of the highlights of the season for both Miami and the NBA.
"The greatest thing in the history of South Florida sports was those guys coming together," Riley said. "With the exception of the (undefeated 1972) Dolphins. Maybe."
And he does expect that Miami, which has the first pick in the second round, No. 31 overall, can get better in Thursday night's draft.
"My take on it is that we're going to pick 31," Riley said. "I'm not so sure we're going to spend $3 million to move up."