Riley: I’ll coach Heat 3 more seasons
Vail, CO Colorado
MIAMI ” Pat Riley isn’t ready for another retirement.
Riley said Monday he’ll be back as coach of the Miami Heat for three more seasons, an announcement that ends months of speculation about his immediate future.
The 62-year-old gave up coaching in 2003, then returned two years later and led the team to the 2006 NBA title. But the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last spring and he was noncommittal for months about whether he’d remain on the sideline.
“I don’t want to be a one-and-done guy,” Riley said.
He said it’s simply coincidental that his three-year commitment is the same length of time that Shaquille O’Neal has left on his contract and the amount of time before Dwyane Wade can opt out of his extension with the club.
“I will coach those out,” Riley said. “I will try to coach those out.”
Riley’s 1,195 regular-season victories trail only Lenny Wilkens (1,332) and Don Nelson (1,232) in NBA history. Only two men ” Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach ” have led more teams to NBA championships than Riley, whose title with the Heat in 2006 was his fifth as a head coach.
His decision to return for the upcoming season wasn’t unexpected, at least among players. Miami stars O’Neal and Wade both recently said they believed their coach was coming back, and longtime Heat center Alonzo Mourning ” who is entering his final season ” publicly implored Riley to return last month.
“He has to come back and be a part of my last year. He has to do that,” Mourning said on the night he announced that 2007-08 would be his farewell. “It’s only appropriate. We started together and hopefully we can end it together on a positive note.”
Riley also said he remains open to the possibility that free agent forward James Posey could return to Miami, where he’s spent the last two years, and reiterated that he likes the addition of guards Smush Parker and Penny Hardaway.
Plus, Miami remains involved in talks with Golden State restricted free agent Mickael Pietrus, and Riley is hopeful something will happen there.
“We will continue to look,” Riley said. “We’re not finished. We’re not finished, by any stretch of the imagination, trying to improve the team.”