Heat president Pat Riley said adding a fourth superstar to Miami's Big Three is a long shot, but didn't rule it out entirely during an impassioned news conference in Miami yesterday.
Riley spent most of his interview challenging LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to return to Miami and make another run at a championship. There have been reports that the three could opt out and take less money to give the Heat the ability to sign Carmelo Anthony. Riley was asked about such a scenario.
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"That's a pipe dream," Riley said, without mentioning any names. "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream. That's not where we're headed."
You can't dismiss anything when it comes to Riley. He started his lengthy session with reporters by saying, "You want to trend something? I'm [upset]" and added that "everyone needs to get a grip."
Later, Riley added the Heat is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep James, Wade and Bosh together.
"Whatever they want to do, however we can keep those guys together, whatever it takes to keep them together, we're ready for," Riley said. "That's my objective. That's my push to them."
If James says he and Anthony want to play together, Riley certainly will be prepared.
There are some moves the Heat would need to make to free up money, and Anthony would have to be willing to take about $70 million less than what the Knicks can pay him.
The Bulls and Rockets also could clear money to sign Anthony and would be able to give him more than the Heat. The Knicks still can pay him the most: five years, at roughly $129 million.
There is no guarantee Knicks president Phil Jackson will give Anthony a full max deal. Jackson already has publicly said he hopes Anthony will take less from the Knicks. Anthony wants to remain a Knick, but he has said winning is more important than money.
The Heat has reached four NBA Finals in the four years since James, Wade and Bosh teamed up. They are 2-2 in those series after being dominated by the Spurs in five games this year. The lopsided Finals has led to all kinds of speculation about what James may do this offseason.
It is still hard to foresee him leaving Miami and what's been built, especially with Riley's promise that he will do what it takes to keep the Heat on top.
"This stuff is hard," Riley said. "You got to stay together, if you got the guts. And you don't find the first door and run out of it, if you have the opportunity.
"We need to retool, we don't need to rebuild. We need to retool. And that's what we're going to do. I've been a leader and a decision-maker and that's my level of expertise and I'll do everything I can to retool the team. But everybody just get a grip. This has been a great run."
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