May 5, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley speaks about Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (not pictured) after James received his fourth MVP award at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Riley to Miami Heat fans: 'We're a contender' even without LeBron James

Miami Heat president Pat Riley might have saw one of the greatest NBA players of all time leave his franchise this offseason, but the basketball legend isn’t ready to give up on next season.

Riley posted a video message to Heat fans on the team’s website Friday and made it known he still believes his team can win big.

From Fox Sports:

“I am as excited as I’ve ever been to let you know that we’re a contender,” Riley says in the video. “You can’t ever look at the Miami Heat and not think of us as being a contender. We’ve always been somebody who believed in the big picture.”

(…)

“We have an owner who thinks big,” he says. “We’re not going to be satisfied with anything that doesn’t come close to winning the championship. That’s what we’re about.”

At the very least, one thing is clear from Riley’s message: He’s fired up to try and prove he can still field a winner without James.

And to Riley’s credit, he did have a pretty impressive free agency run following James’ departure, signing Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng, among others.

But with James’ Cavaliers poised to acquire Kevin Love and field a Big Three that also includes Kyrie Irving,making a championship run, let alone getting out of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, will surely be a challenge for Miami.

The Heat have appeared in the past four NBA Finals’ with James leading the way.

 

 

Tags: Lebron James Miami Heat NBA Pat Riley

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