The roster for the Miami Heat has quickly come together following LeBron James taking his talents back to Cleveland after a successful four-year run in South Beach and two NBA titles.
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade re-signed after opting out of their deals earlier this offseason and the team announced they have re-signed point guard Mario Chalmers and veteran power forward Udonis Haslem, but according to team president Pat Riley, the most important signing was Luol Deng.
Deng comes to Miami to replace James after James went to Cleveland where Deng was the Cavaliers’ small forward after a midseason trade from the Chicago Bulls. Riley’s statement on the two-year deal for the two-time All-Star takes a not-so-subtle shot at James.
Pat Riley in statement: “Luol Deng is one of the most important free agent signings that we have ever had in the history of the franchise.”
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 15, 2014
High praise for Deng to be sure, but would any other general manager, president or coach make a statement like this about him?
It’s easy to see that Riley is taking a jab at James for what he would refer to as running away when things got rough and not sticking it out and trying to win with his teammates.
The first meeting between the Heat and Cavaliers was already going to be must-see TV, but with Riley’s comments today, can we please get a playoff series between these two teams who figure to be among the top two-three challengers in the Eastern Conference?