« Target Bosh, Take Hedo, Too | Main | Between Riley and Reality »

Riley's In, Who's Next?

It wasn't a major move, but it was a big one, nonetheless. PatRiley

The first domino in the Heat's major offseason of bold moves fell Monday when team president Pat Riley confirmed he has reached an agreement with owner Micky Arison on a contract extension.

That means that Pat Riley will be under contract when he makes reservations for that extensive, expensive dinner meeting later this summer with the top free agents on the market. LeBron James. Chris Bosh. Amare' Stoudemire. You know the names.

While Riley's return was always expected - at least, he was staying on board through the summer - it was still a clear indication to the franchise, the fans and the summer free-agent crop that he is in this for at least the front end of the long haul.

Riley worked too hard, withstood too much turmoil, too many losses, too much aggravation over the past three years in the aftermath of that 2006 championship run to walk away with the Heat holding a stacked hand. No way was Riley turning down this opportunity to turn the franchise back into the talk of the league.

For any of these bold offseason changes to have any credibility, Riley had to be first to sign his name on the dotted line and extend his commitment.

That's done now. The biggest question at this point is whether Riley can somehow convince Dwyane Wade to do so next. Wade exited the season holding firm to his stance that he would take that "Wade-and-see" approach before signing off on that long-term deal with the Heat.

Wade-Riley He wants Riley to sign one or two of those marquee free agents to show that this team has the goods in hand before Wade lifts a finger to sign his contract. Wade wouldn't flat-out rule out signing first, but he clearly wants to see some action to get him leaning in that direction.

Step 1 in this process was complete Monday.

Step 2 remains to be seen. Riley gave his commitment. Now, he'll have to get the goods in tow so that Wade can gives his.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)




Powered by TypePad