How LeBron James’ Departure From Miami Heat Overturned President Pat Riley’s Retirement Plans

Published 10/28/2020, 12:21 AM EDT
HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 16: Pat Riley attends D. Wade’s Apollo Jets All Star Luncheon on February 16, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/WireImage)


Despite losing LeBron James in 2014, the Miami Heat bounced back pretty well. They made a return to the NBA Finals behind Jimmy Butler and co. However, it all could not have been possible without their president, Pat Riley.

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Riley is known as one of the smartest executives in the entire league. However, according to a report by The Athletic’s Zach Harper, “The Godfather” was about to call it quits back in 2014.

“Pat Riley wanted to be retired by now. The Miami Heat front office demigod wanted to get out around the time of the 2014 offseason. He was hoping to re-sign LeBron James, add some veteran role players around him, and prepare to leave the franchise in capable hands as it won more and more Larry O’Brien trophies.

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“Instead, LeBron took his talents back to Cleveland to fulfill a promise once thought to be relinquished.”

When the Big 3 broke up, the Heat were left in a dire situation. With LeBron gone, D-Wade and Chris Bosh had to take the helm of the franchise. But it was easier said than done, Wade was already past his prime and Bosh suffered from blood clot issues.

If it weren’t for the brilliance of Riley, who knows for how long the Heat would have stayed out of contention? When backed into the corner, Riley struck back pretty well and rebuilt the team perfectly.

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Can the Miami Heat win another championship?

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after a play against the Los Angeles Lakers as he high fives guard Tyler Herro (14) during the fourth quarter of game three of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. The Miami Heat won 115-104. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Although the NBA Finals drought for the Heat ended this year, they are yet to win another championship. During the Big 3 era, the Heat were unstoppable and won back-to-back championships, but now they do not have the same magnitude of star power.

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No disrespect to Jimmy Butler, he is a phenomenal player and a leader. But when compared to the glory years of the Heat, this roster fades in front of that early 2010s team. But for the first time in half a decade, Miami is a championship contender behind Jimmy.

With young stars around Butler, this could be their best opportunity to win it all. But with the East being competitive again, can they really accomplish that?

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Aikansh Chaudhary

771 articles

Aikansh Chaudhary is an NBA columnist for Essentially Sports. Previously, he helped rank various websites using the latest SEO techniques, and wrote over 2000 articles during his stint as a freelance writer. A die hard Lakers fan, Aikansh will forever uphold LeBron James as the GOAT.

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