Andy Elisburg Rumors
History has shown us that no one ever really knows what Pat Riley is up to. That’s part of his genius, right? And as one interested executive put it, you can never put anything past him. But if you thought the Bucks culture was picky, the Heat ecosystem is on a different level altogether. So when it comes to this question of whether Riles, longtime general manager Andy Elisburg and coach Erik Spoelstra might want to convert Harden into their world of discipline and dirty work, it’s safe to say there’s serious skepticism here from sources close to the situation. Especially considering Harden’s recent antics.
That is where the ownership groups for both the Lakers and Heat — as well as additional guests for each team — have spent the past week during the NBA Finals. At a hotel near Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, these two competing sides — like the teams that also are sharing the bubble — find themselves awkwardly close together for the duration of the series. “It’s beyond words,” said Bernie Lee, the agent for Heat star Jimmy Butler. “I’m sitting and having lunch with [Miami president Pat Riley] and [general manager Andy Elisburg],” Lee said, “and 10 feet away from us is the entire Laker leadership.”
But the Heat’s front office staff led by president Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon put in the time based on scouting from longtime Heat player personnel executive Chet Kammerer. The Heat valued Adebayo’s footwork, energy and defense and were determined to work on his offense. This season, he averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals and shot 55.7% from the field. “That preparation, my coaching staff really put it in my mind that that’s something I could be,” Adebayo said. “Just got to keep being aggressive and doing my thing.”
It was Heat president Pat Riley, same as he ever was, lording from on high in what was his first in-person Heat game of this postseason. “Appreciate you!” Butler said as he saluted to the mask-wearing Riley and pointed in his direction. “You’re making my dreams…” Riley fired back before heading out with Heat general manager Andy Elisburg. It takes a lot to impress Riley, who has coached dynasties and built Super Teams and generally doesn’t bother with anything less than absolute excellence.
Pat Riley has joined the Miami Heat at Disney World, but will be observing their playoff games from a distance. Arriving as part of the NBA’s second tier of guests, those not in the league’s bubble quarantine, Riley will take in the games at the Wide World of Sports complex from a distance, not allowed direct contract with players, coaches or those in the league’s highest tier of quarantine access. Heat General Manager Andy Elisburg also is with Riley in Central Florida, with the two with separate accommodations than the team’s at Disney World.
With millions of people watching on television, the last thing any GM wants to see is the players’ message muddled by a staff member’s blocking mistake. But avoiding any sort of optics mishap — like, say, someone walking in front of a camera at a powerful moment out of sheer confusion — requires clear communication with staff about how this should go. Sources say Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman were vocal on the call, as was Miami senior vice president of basketball operations Andy Elisburg. Weltman and Pelinka, in particular, expressed a desire to be on the court with their teams.