Pat Riley Rumors
Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau praised the Miami Heat for their “winning culture” and a high “standard of excellence,” saying both have contributed to perhaps the greatest turnaround in league history. “The thing you have to look at, they never really changed,” Thibodeau said before tonight’s game. “Even when they weren’t winning games they were still playing tough and smart and I think when you make the changes that they did. … when you lose a Dwyane Wade and what he meant to this organization and you add a lot of new players, it takes those players time to adjust and once they got it down they just took off.”
Ira Winderman: Let’s cut to the chase again with this. The only reason Dwyane Wade left was money, and what he perceived to be a lack of respect with the Heat’s contract offer in July. It had nothing to do with the Bulls’ playoff prospects or leading Chicago’s younger players. And while his efforts in the Chicago community absolutely are admirable and ongoing, that also was secondary to Pat Riley’s lack of participation in the process when it came to both entering the negotiations and acquiescing to an offer that Wade deemed commensurate with his contributions to the franchise. For all the quotes over the weekend indicating Dwyane’s frustration with the Bulls’ front office, there also were frustrations with the Heat’s front office. In fact, when you consider it, Dwyane would have been in an awkward position had he stayed and the Heat then moved forward with their approach with Chris Bosh, one of Dwyane’s closest friends.
“It’s not surprising to me,” the 71-year-old Riley said of Spoelstra’s success, speaking Thursday night at the organization’s annual “A Family Affair” gala at AmericanAirlines Arena. “Everybody likes to sort of compartmentalize a coach’s career. The man has won two world championships. He’s been in more big, big games with a different team. There’s always challenges when you have great teams that are supposed to win. Everybody thinks that’s an easy ride. It may even be more of a difficult ride with all the things going on behind the scenes and dealing with superstars. And then there’s this kind of challenge in which I think he’s handled with great experience and by staying the course.”
“Erik has done a great job and whatever comes his way will comes his way,” Riley said. “He’s a lot like me. The first time I got my Coach of the Year award I was embarrassed to go and get it because I got it with a team behind me of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, etc. That residual reward will come to [Spoelstra]. The ones that he has that are more important to him are the ones that he’s wearing on his fingers.”