Future of Miami Heat May Have Made Pat Riley A Smiling Face With A Hidden Agenda

By Richard Nurse

Now that fans have had a few days to process the pain of losing Dwyane Wade to his hometown team, Chicago Bulls, it is time to tuck the tears and start looking towards the future — unless you are brokenhearted about losing a mentor like Justise Winslow is.

Agree or disagree, both sides were likely equally right and wrong when it came to the deterioration of the relationship between the Miami Heat and Wade, but as Pat Riley said “no more bruises and enough fighting,” it is time for everyone move on. Plus there will be plenty of time to bring back the nostalgia and tears during what is setting up to be an interesting 2016-17 season.

Summertime additions of frontcourt athletes like Derrick Williams and James Johnson and capable three-point shooters like Rodney McGruder, Wayne Ellington (38 percent) and Luke Babbit (40 percent) read like a who’s who of wasted potential and D-League all-stars. But with Chris Bosh, they have a chance to fit into a slot and become a semi-competitive, first round out.

With or without Bosh, the Heat could end up painfully exciting like the Darius Miles, Lamar Odom and Quentin Richardson Los Angeles Clippers, who would get really close to a playoff birth but fall short while entertaining the crowd every night.

Yes, the Heat have no standout wings who can consistently create on their own, however they have a collection of above the rim attackers — add Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, Winslow and Josh Richardson to Williams and J. Johnson — that will better fit Goran Dragic’s uptempo style without Wade’s dangerously effective ball stopping.

It could all end with the team in the NBA Draft lottery for the second time in three years. It could also end with a first round exit for a team full of newly minted one-year contracts and partial guarantees. Sound familiar? Maybe like the like the 2008 and 2009 Heat teams that were used to set up for the summer of the Big Three?

Although next year’s salary cap is projected as being lower than expected — $102 million instead of $107 million — the Heat will be equipped with enough space to allow Andy Elisburg to manipulate contracts for the Godfather to go fishing for two huge free agency “whales.”

He did always say that he wanted to have flexibility for the deep class of next summer if he struck out this offseason. So nudging Wade out if he refused to come aboard cheap would seem like the most logical way to set up.

A shrewd business move, indeed, but after his criticism of Lebron James, does this make Riley one of those genius “smiling face with hidden agendas?”

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