I for the life of me never thought this day would come where I would question the great Patrick James Riley. But I guess there is a first for everything.
Where does this doubt and critique stem from? Well, here it is,
Ok. A couple things to unpack here just for a clear understanding to the readers.
I like Mike Conley. I actually value Mike Conley more than most NBA diehards. I can also separate Mike Conley the player vs. Mike Conley who is still owed nearly $70 million in the next 2 years. Memphis paid him that ridiculous amount money cause that was the cost for doing business in 2016. I get it. No value in playing armchair quarterback now on that subject. It just is what it is.
Where I get annoyed and concerned and probably lose some faith in Pat Riley is that if these rumors are indeed true. If Riley really does covet Mike Conley to become a member of the Miami Heat for at least the next two seasons, I had questions about the motives. None more than why are you making any moves at this point that doesn’t make your team exceedingly better. On the surface it just feels like Pat Riley making a move just for the sake of making a move. And that is dangerous place to be in when you’re trying to correct the mistake of two years ago by making possibly another mistake.
Again, a reminder. I like Mike Conley. However Mike Conley on the Miami Heat roster does not place the team in the top 5 of the Eastern Conference and there is no way you can realistically sell that to the fanbase. Unless this move involves removing some of the terrible contracts still remaining on the books such as Hassan Whiteside’s expiring (assuming he opts in before July) or James Johnson and/or Dion Waiters it’s virtually pointless to do nothing in my opinion. You might as well bring back this exact roster for one more season for 2019-2020 and ride the wave of knowing you have two potentially expiring contracts (Goran Dragic being the other) and who knows. Maybe there is another playoff desperate team willing to to take them off your hands.
I get it. Riley did royally fuck up in 2017. He was hoodwinked. He got, GOT. The team finishing the season with an miraculous 30-11 record was in the long term a bad omen. But that’s that. It’s the past. No sense in panicking now. Riley needs to think big picture and unless there are deals that will give some relief to the disaster that is their salary cap, Pat better just, well, stand Pat.