Pat Riley has met with LeBron, others


MIAMI -- Part of Pat Riley's pitch to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to extend their largely successful run together with the Miami Heat won't involve throwing his collection of championship jewelry on a table to remind them what they can accomplish.

"I don't think we've got to recruit Chris, Dwyane or LeBron," Riley said Thursday. "I'm not dropping rings on the table for those guys. They could drop their own."

With that said, the Heat team president remains optimistic his core players will eventually regroup from a dominating defeat against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals and realize there's still a prosperous future in Miami should they return intact.

During an annual season-ending news conference that lasted nearly an hour, Riley addressed several issues surrounding his team, including the possibility that James, Wade and Bosh could all opt out of the final two seasons of their contracts to become free agents on July 1.

Riley said he has met with all three players over a two-day span this week and relayed that he and team owner Micky Arison are willing to do "whatever it takes" for them to move forward and contend for championships for several more seasons.

Riley's media session came two days after James had his exit interview with the team and told reporters he would take a vacation with his family in the coming days before he decides how to proceed with his next decision.

James did indicate that he welcomed the opportunity to become a free agent and have the same level of flexibility he was afforded in 2010, when James signed with Miami after his first seven years in Cleveland. He has since led Miami to four consecutive trips to the Finals and two championships.

Wade elected not to speak with the media after his exit interviews Tuesday but has previously said he plans to spend his entire career with the Heat. Bosh said Tuesday he doesn't see any reason why the Heat's Big Three wouldn't continue together in Miami.

Riley said he has already constructed a contingency plan for whatever decisions are made by his top players. He also expressed frustration from the outset of his session with rampant speculation in the media and around the league that the Heat are on the decline and need to break up their core. Riley opened with a rant and pointed out the years Magic Johnson's Lakers, Larry Bird's Celtics and Tim Duncan's Spurs didn't win titles despite all championships they stockpiled during dynastic runs.

"I think everybody needs to get a grip," Riley said. "This stuff is hard. You have to stay together and find the guts. You don't find the [exit] door and run out of it."

The Heat could be headed for a complete overhaul this summer, with 14 of their 15 players either at the end of expiring contracts or in position to opt out and become free agents. After four years of reaching the Finals and playing well into June, Riley said a common theme from the players during the exit interviews was that the mental fatigue ultimately played a major factor.

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