|Heat president Pat Riley says he's always evaluating, but has no plans to leave|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 09 January 2008 15:00|
Riley said before Miami's game Wednesday night against Milwaukee that he was being philosophical when talking about the dual roles he holds and potentially stepping aside.
``I always re-evaluate,'' Riley said. ``I'm one of those guys, a good old Irish Catholic who worries a lot so I re-evaluate all the time. I throw the ball up in the air and 10 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers and hope that it works out. That's how I do it.''
The 62-year-old Riley, under contract through 2009-10, dismissed about a half-dozen questions on whether he would fulfill his contract as Miami has slid to 8-27, worst in the Eastern Conference, and lost by 10 on Tuesday night to Minnesota, which currently holds the worst record in the NBA.
``Don't ask me that question. At this time it's like 'Yes' or 'No,''' he said. ``There are hypotheticals in a season like this. You don't want to turn the knife too early on things. Just let things work its way out.''
In August, Riley said he planned to coach the Heat for the three remaining years on his contract, an announcement that ended months of speculation about his future. He said Wednesday night he has not thought about his future when he spoke to a reporter at a South Florida newspaper.
``I don't even want to talk about that. We were talking about the dual responsibilities of being a president and head coach and there are conflicts there and I have to evaluate those all the time,'' he said.
But Riley did acknowledge that his responsibilities are tougher when Miami plays poorly.
``I very rarely have to answer questions about it when we're winning,'' Riley said. ``It's only when you're losing.''
Udonis Haslem said Riley deserves credit for what he's done, and that he has a right to make up his mind in time.
``It's a situation that none of us expected to be in,'' Haslem said. ``He's probably in a little bit of shock just like we are, but at the same time, as long as he's been in this league I don't think there's too many situations that he hasn't been in or he hasn't seen.
``If anybody has the knowledge or the experience of how to get out of a situation like this, it's him. We've got to do it as a team, continue to fight, follow his lead and hopefully things will come together.''
Riley gave up coaching in 2003, then returned when Stan Van Gundy stepped down in December 2005 and led Miami to the 2006 NBA title.
A year ago, Riley left the team for six weeks to undergo knee surgery and a hip replacement. Assistant Ron Rothstein filled in. After Riley returned, the Heat were swept out of last year's playoffs by the Chicago Bulls.
Some of Riley's offseason moves didn't work out as planned. Dwyane Wade was sidelined because of knee rehab at the start of the season. Shaquille O'Neal's has battled thigh and hip injuries, and his relationship with Riley has been the source of much debate after word leaked of a practice-court argument between the star center and the star coach.
Riley's contract ends at the same time that O'Neal's does, while that is the final season of Wade's guaranteed contract. This season, the Heat have been plagued by poor defense, depth and outside shooting.
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.
``I'm not assessing anything,'' Riley said of his future. ``It was simply about the conflicts and there are conflicts about the job.''