Pat Riley, the Miami Heat’s famed president, said in a new interview that he’s surprised LeBron James left the team during the offseason to go back home.
Riley told Bleacher Report that it’s interesting that back in the day, generational teams were able to stay together to build dynasties, but that those are becoming more and more rare.
“That was almost shocking to me that the players would allow that to happen. And I’m not just saying LeBron. I mean, the players, themselves, would allow them to get to a state where a guy would want to go home or whatever it is,” he said.
“So maybe I’m dealing with a contemporary attitude today of, ‘Well, I got four years here, and I think I’ll go up there for whatever reason I went.’ You know, the whole ‘home’ thing, I understand that. But what he had here, and what he had developed here, and what he could have developed over the next five or six years here, with the same team, could have been historic. And usually teams from inside…”
Riley paused, then continued: “It would be like Magic and Kareem and [James] Worthy, they weren’t going to go anywhere,” Riley said. “They had come at a time when there were free agents. They weren’t going to go. You think Magic was going to leave Kareem? You think Kareem was going to leave Magic? You think Worthy was going to leave either one of those guys, or [Byron] Scott or [Michael] Cooper? No, they knew they had a chance to win every year. And this team had a chance every year. So that was shocking to me that it happened. Now, could we have done more? Could they have done more?”
James won two championships with the Heat, which made the NBA finals for the four seasons that he was in Miami.
After James left, Miami quickly focused on bringing back Chris Bosh and surrounding him and Dwyane Wade with veteran players as opposed to purposefully sinking to get into the lottery.