Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nothing Like Some Heat News To Get Our Minds Off The Dolphins (Never Thought I'd Live To Say That) ... man this title is long!!

Riley: Decision to return to Heat 'was a no-brainer'

MIAMI -- After winning his fifth NBA title as a head coach, Pat Riley spent the next two months keeping most of the Miami Heat organization guessing about his next move.

Turns out, there was no reason for their angst.

Riley revealed Tuesday that the decision to return was easy, saying he quickly realized the defending NBA champions would be best-served with him on the sideline.

He didn't make the decision publicly known until Aug. 23, exactly two months after the Heat held their celebratory championship parade through downtown Miami.

"It was a no-brainer," Riley said in his bay-view office, as many Heat players participated in a pre-camp workout a few feet away. "After we won the title, the more I thought about it, I probably just should have made the announcement. And it has to do with this team and this time, what I think they need, and what they expect from me and from this organization."

So, it's back-to-work time for Riley and his team.

A 3-inch-thick playbook sat on the table, awaiting another editing session, while a staffer designed more plays on a computer outside the office. Talks with free agents are continuing, training camp starts next week, the first preseason game is two weeks away, and the regular season opens Oct. 31.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade the MVP of the finals against Dallas, said he never doubted Riley would return.

"When you've got everybody on your team coming back ... to try to repeat, on a team you hand-picked, let's go do it again. Let's go give it another try," Wade said. "He's the only person that can coach this team right now. I wasn't worried. I knew he would come back. Well, I didn't know it, but I was very confident."

The Heat will bring back most of last season's championship team; only reserve Derek Anderson has had ties severed with the organization. Free-agent forward Shandon Anderson is still in talks and could return, but no contract is in place yet.




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