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When Riley Talks ...

Heat president Pat Riley talked Wednesday.

A bunch of us South Florida media members gathered at AmericanAirlines Arena to listen.

Now, after transcribing - or, rather, quickly listening to the comments - let's determine what they mean in order of priority as the Heat heads into the offseason.

Priority No. 1 - Signing Dwyane Wade to an extension this summer, before he can opt out in 2010. Wade-Riley

Riley: "It's been broached. It's on everybody's mind. We want Dwyane Wade here the rest of his career. We would love to get a commitment. He's our franchise player. We understand he has the right to wait."

Lowdown: Now, it's D. Wade's turn to make everyone wait on his commitment. Riley should know how it's done, considering the way he publicly handled his coaching future a few years ago. I've got no problem with Wade taking his time. I've got no problem if he waits until 2010. He's earned that right. He knows he's the anchor of this franchise. But business is business. And he's got leverage.

Priority No. 2 - Moving Michael Beasley to small forward

Riley: "I'm a believer in Michael and Erik (Spoelstra) is a believer in Michael. He never really had a developmental summer the way Dwyane had (after his rookie season). He can play that spot. I coached James Worthy, when he was a power forward coming out of college. Michael has the ability to be one of the best 3-4s in the league. You need offensive firepower."

Beasley-Wade Lowdown: If Riley is truly determined to make this current roster work, he had no choice but to move Beasley to small forward. Why the team couldn't have committed to that change after the Shawn Marion trade is beyond me. There is no doubt that Beas can play the three. And enough with all of the talk about him not being able to defend LeBron James and Paul Pierce. Hell, who can? Beasley simply must stay out of foul trouble and force opposing small forward to guard him as well. He can create mismatches.

Priority No. 3 - Is Michael Beasley untouchable as a potential trade chip?

Riley: "I would think so. (But) You never know what will come from outside."

Lowdown: Riley had to be convinced to keep Beasley on draft night - and beyond. Of course, he's going to say all of the "we-want-to-keep-Beas" things right now. But let Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire become available, and Beas might be out of here as quick as he can get a shot up. Having said that, I would much rather see Beas stay and develop and benefit from being alongside Wade the same way Wade did so being alongside Shaq in those first couple of seasons.

Priority No. 4 - Developing the young core of Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Daequan Cook and - get this - Dorell Wright.

Riley: "Michael and Mario and Daequan and Dorell are going to be part of what we call the Heat Academy. We have foregone the summer league this year because I want it to be about a summer of work. Of drilling and out of the box thinking about developing their athleticism and not just their basketball skills. I think they will get more out of it than in the summer league. I'm not saying we won't take them somewhere for a session - I've talked to four or five other teams.  

Priority No. 5 - Making a blockbuster move this summer.

Riley: "Being patiently impatient is what it's about. If something happens that is good and could change the direction of the franchise immediately, if it was sound, fiscal, fit into all of the parameters, like the Shaquille deal did at the time, you move forward. But with what we did last year, what we brought in this year, and how we were able to clean the table for 2010, that has to be the vision and the long-term plan. But I would be proactive if something were to happen. I've got a huge ego. But it's got nothing to do with anything other than the team. It's really about the team."

Lowdown: Pat's got Henry Thomas on speed-dial. Henry not only represents D. Wade, but also Chris Bosh. And if Pat can get Henry to get Toronto to take back anyone on the roster, except Dwyane, it's a done deal this summer - if not by the trade deadline next season.

Priority No. 6 - Getting anything near $23 million worth of production from Jermaine O'Neal next season. SPO-O'NEAL

Riley: "We saw the balance he gave the team. He gave us a presence in the middle. Trying to incorporate him into a perimeter-based game around Dwyane wasn't an easy thing. He needs one summer of just getting strong. We had to drain his knee three times. I think we're going to have that (a strong, healthy and consistently productive) O'Neal next season."

Priority No. 7 - Deal or No Deal regarding Udonis Haslem, who has an attractive expiring contract.

Riley: "You don't want to move players like Udonis. We all know what Udonis brings. We all know what Udonis is all about. Business is business. But Udonis is a fixture here. I would like to keep him here.

Lowdown: Again, this might go back to the Henry Thomas factor. Henry also represents Udonis in addition to Chris Bosh and Wade. The bottom line is that Udonis has taken on a sort of Zo-like quality within the franchise. He doesn't complain. He works hard. And he's the toughest dude in the locker room. Plus he's Dwyane Wade's sidekick. Wade and Haslem are the only rotation players left from the 2006 title team. Jordan had Oakley. Magic had A.C. Green. Bird had McHale. Wade has Udonis.

Priority No. 8 - Riley's future beyond 2010, when his contract is believed to expire.

Riley: "I can have a handshake agreement with (owner) Micky (Arison). After 14 years, I don't think it's Riley-Arison about contracts."

Lowdown: As Riley admits, he has a huge ego. Don't think for one second that he did all the groundwork (along with his staff) to set this team up for a blockbuster summer of 2010 to walk away without reaping the benefits of what becomes of it. Riley will eventually head off into the sunset of Southern Cal. But not before he sets Wade up with another mega star to make a run at one last title.

Priority No. 9 - On dealing to get a first-round pick for the draft, which the Heat does not have right now.

Riley: "Maybe. We'll take a look at it if we like the player and it slots into what we're trying to do."

Lowdown: Probably not. Unless landing a draft pick is part of a larger deal to dump salary. Any takers for Mark Blount? Going once ... going twice ... ?

Mario Priority No. 10 - Acquiring a veteran point guard to compete with Mario Chalmers.

Riley: "I have a depth chart in my office with all of the starting point guards on a board. I told Mario: Don't make me trade for one of those guys to take your spot. He said: I won't."

Lowdown: Riley sees a little bit of Rajon Rondo in Mario. And that's a good thing. Because Rondo faced all of the same questions Mario does now when he took over as the starting point guard in Boston two years ago. Look at Rondo now. One of Mario's best games this season came against Rondo and Boston on the road, when Wade was out. Don't expect Riley to give up on Chalmers now.   

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)




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