"I understand that. I don't accept it," Riley said. "Maybe they didn't know how to prepare themselves for four years in the Finals. If that's something as an excuse or to use this as a crutch ... I saw that in the team. I saw the mental fatigue at times. I thought we were hitting a stride when we beat Indiana in Game 6 [of the Eastern Conference finals]. I said we're in a good place. Then we ran into a buzz saw."
The Heat lost to the Spurs in five games, with San Antonio's four victories coming by 15 or more points in one of the most lopsided Finals in NBA history.
Riley said his plan was to allow James, Wade and Bosh to get away for seven to 10 days and cope with the disappointment before they all get together to go over their options.
The players have until June 30 to notify the Heat of their plans to either opt out or roll into the fifth season of their respective six-year contracts. James, Wade and Bosh are each slated to earn at least $20 million next season. If they all opt in, Riley said the Heat would still have the flexibility to shore up the supporting cast by using a midlevel exception and two minor trade exceptions.
Should the Heat's top players opt out, Miami could have at least $51 million in salary-cap space to retool the roster and possibly add quality free agents alongside James, Wade and Bosh. Riley addressed speculation that the Heat are maneuvering to bring in a fourth major free agent -- with pending free agent Carmelo Anthony the center of most rumors -- if James, Wade and Bosh chose to take drastic pay cuts.
"That's a pipe dream," Riley said, without mentioning the name of a potentially targeted player. "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream. That's not where we're headed."
Riley said he didn't anticipate presenting a plan in which James, Wade and Bosh would take huge pay cuts should they opt out of contracts. He would be open to any ideas they had and suggested that it was the three players who hatched the plan in 2010 to take slightly less money than allowed on maximum deals to create salary space to add Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.
The initial plan, Riley said, is for this team to stay the course.
"It's not about options. It's not about free agency," Riley said. "It's about what we've done over four years. It's about looking around the room now and seeing who is going to stand up. Those four years we've had with LeBron, we're hoping to turn them into eight or 10. We're not walking around on eggshells anymore."
Riley insists he's not overcome with pressure or anxiety.
"How can we keep the guys together?" Riley said. "We're prepared. We've got the main thing all written up. Whatever it takes to keep them together, we're ready for. Let's stay here and try to keep this thing going."