Pat Riley Rumors
David Fizdale: A wildly popular assistant coach in Miami, Fizdale was excelling with Memphis with a solid first year until brought down by an apparent feud with Marc Gasol. Heat sources believe Fizdale’s strong rapport with players is a strong suit and has learned defense under Pat Riley’s tutelage. Nevertheless, the Suns have eyes on Fizdale, best known for his “Take that for data’’ rant during the 2017 playoff run.
In a new book written by Ian Thomsen titled, “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown between LeBron, Kobe, Doc and Dirk that Saved the NBA,” Riley said LeBron James “did the right thing” when he left the Heat to sign with the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014. “I had two to three days of tremendous anger. I was absolutely livid, which I expressed to myself and my closest friends,” Riley said in the book that will be released on April 17, through excerpts revealed by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “… My beautiful plan all of a sudden came crashing down. That team in ten years could have won five or six championships. But I get it. I get the whole chronicle of [LeBron’s] life.”
“While there may have been some carnage always left behind when he made these kinds of moves, in Cleveland and also in Miami, he did the right thing. I just finally came to accept the realization that he and his family said, ‘You’ll never, ever be accepted back in your hometown if you don’t go back to try to win a title. Otherwise someday you’ll go back there and have the scarlet letter on your back. You’ll be the greatest player in the history of mankind, but back there, nobody’s really going to accept you.'”
Riley told Thomsen that after James left, he had no contact with him until the 2016 NBA Finals, when Cleveland played the Golden State Warriors in Game 7. Riley said it was then he finally reached out. “I didn’t want to send him anything that he could read before he hit the floor,” Riley said. “As soon as he hit the floor, I sent a text to him. I said, ‘Win this and be free.’ “He never got back to me with a response. In fact, he said something after the game.”
“When I decided to leave Miami — I’m not going to name any names, I can’t do that – but there were some people that I trusted and built relationships with in those four years [who] told me I was making the biggest mistake of my career. And that s— hurt me. And I know it was an emotional time that they told me that because I was leaving. They just told me it was the biggest mistake I was making in my career. And that right there was my motivation.” “It wasn’t me,” Riley told Thomsen. “I never said anything to him. “That’s one of LeBron’s greatest traits, that somewhere in him there’s such a competitive thing that he’s going to find something to motivate himself to win.”
The Lakers honored Baylor with a video tribute featuring former teammates, fellow Laker legends and notable adversaries, including West, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Pat Riley, Bill Russell, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Gail Goodrich and Walt Frazier. “Before there was Dr. J [Julius Erving] and a guy named Michael Jordan, there was Elgin Baylor,” Magic Johnson said in the tribute.
Altman thought back to a conversation he had with Heat general manager Andy Elisburg three or four weeks prior to the trade deadline, sources said. Elisburg made his way through the Cavs’ roster alphabetically, rattling off the names he could see the Heat making an offer for. When he got toward the back end of the Cavs’ roster — W is the fourth-to-last letter, after all — he said something to the effect of, “Yeah, and you have a 2-guard that we have a little bit of history with.” Altman told Elisburg at the time that he was contemplating a major overhaul, which could change Wade’s role on the team. Elisburg filed the information away, informing Heat president Pat Riley of the dialogue. On the morning of the trade deadline, at just past 9 a.m., Elisburg heard from Altman again. Would they want Wade back in a Miami uniform?