Riley: Heat want to keep Wade
MIAMI -- Heat president Pat Riley has a message for fans: Miami will do "whatever it takes" to keep Dwyane Wade.
In a letter printed across three pages of the team's program for Wednesday night's regular-season finale, Riley addressed the anticipated free-agent bonanza that awaits this summer, part of which will include Wade opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent.
"Here's what you need to know," Riley wrote. "First and foremost, [owner] Micky Arison and I are in total agreement that we will do whatever it takes to re-sign Dwyane Wade. He's our 'max player' and we want him to spend his entire career in a Miami Heat uniform."
The goal for the summer, Riley said, is simple.
"Construct a team for the ages ... a dynasty," Riley wrote.
Obviously, Riley's words weren't exactly new news out of the Heat camp.
Still, it's telling that the Heat put a "Summer of 2010" logo on the cover of the in-game program for Wednesday's game, and instead of the customary player feature, there was a seven-paragraph letter from Riley about what could happen this offseason.
Riley reaffirmed many of the points he's made for the past several months, including that the Heat have enough salary-cap room to sign Wade, another max-contract player and "potentially another All-Star caliber player." Miami has made many decisions in recent years with salary-cap space for this summer in mind, and because of that, the Heat will be operating from a position of financial strength when the offseason signing window begins.
"The initial step in our master plan heading into this summer has been to first re-sign Dwyane," Riley wrote. "After we accomplish that, we will have enough cap room to pursue several other significant free agents, with one of them being a 'max player' ... true NBA superstars ... to suit up alongside Dwyane."
Riley did not discuss specific players, which would violate NBA tampering policy. Much like how Wade will supposedly be coveted by the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and Chicago Bulls, among others, names that the Heat will likely consider this summer could include most notably LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
"You've heard the names and you've watched them play," Riley wrote. "So you know the level of players that we're talking about."
Riley also addressed Michael Beasley, the second-year forward who the Heat drafted No. 2 in the 2008 draft out of Kansas State and gave him extremely high marks.
"I have been part of the NBA for more than 40 years and have coached and competed against some of the greatest players in the history of the game," Riley wrote. "Michael has the offensive potential to be one of the best scorers in the game. You are just beginning to see the player he can become."
The Heat could have a decidedly different look next season, with as many as 13 players possibly having the chance to leave this summer. That's unlikely, of course, but Riley made clear that changes -- big changes -- will come before next season.
"I know you will want to be here when the new Miami Heat team takes the court next fall," Riley said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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