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July 9, 2010

Pat Riley

Erik Spoelstra

PAT RILEY: This is about the three of them. This is about Coach. Micky has created an environment, a platform in which we can really go out and try to flourish. I think the one thing we tried to get across as an organization, when we met with all of the free agents, is I introduced Andy and Nick, Micky, I didn't introduce myself. Coach and Alonzo was there. And I spoke about how long they've been with us and what we're about.
And everybody in this organization, Andy started as an intern in the PR department. He started in the video room. Zo was the anchor. He's the anchor and he's the image of what The Heat are about. He's a warrior. He's got a great heart. And he extends beyond that into the community. Micky has simply been an incredible owner for all of us.
It's his attention, I think, to detail and the discipline. After all, he does have a day job and it's a pretty successful business. And he brings that into the culture. Nick Arison, when I came here in 1995, he was 14 years old. And he was not the team attendant. He was basically running the whole show down in the locker room. He's heard more speeches by me that he reminds me of on a regular basis that he wants to forget.
And I think he understood that this is a group. This is a group. This really is stability and it's about a family. So I think that more than anything else is what I thought about when I walked out there tonight.

Q. Showing LeBron the rings, your championship rings?
PAT RILEY: I don't know. I just -- they spoke -- the one thing that rang out about all the free agents -- 150 free agents. On my board in my office there are 150 green templates, names, which mean unrestricted.
And just about every great player who became a free agent said I want to win. That's all they say. I just wanted to win, for whatever reason, they just wanted to win. And I know what it takes to win. And what it takes to win is it takes really talented players who are tough and will trust one another. And I think we have found three guys who are very, very talented and very tough and they're going to trust one another.
And to me that's what it's all about. So the ring was just a symbol of what we're all going to try to chase.

Q. I know both you guys really wanted things to work out with Michael Beasley. Was it just absolutely necessary that he had to be moved in order to bring these guys in?
PAT RILEY: Michael -- it's a personal thing. He's the No. 2 pick in the Draft. He came in very young. He came in a situation where he didn't start the first year and averaged 15 points a game, seven rebounds, and we won 43 games and made the Playoffs.
Last year, he started for us. Udonis showed just how willing he was to sacrifice. And Michael averaged 14 points and seven rebounds in about 28 minutes. We didn't want to do that. We don't want to do it. It's in process, and we feel like he's a young, talented kid who has a long career ahead of him. But with this particular move, we felt that in order to bring in other complementary players, that we had to probably go in that direction.
There's not been anything completed yet. But I think right now we're in that kind of situation. But whatever happens, I would hate two or three years from now -- and Micky and I have talked about this -- that if in fact something like that were to happen with one of our young guys, I know I'm going to probably regret it when he gets 28 and 19 on us one night. He's really a gifted kid.

Q. Secondly, all three players said that you guys were adamant about the fact that, Pat, that Erik was going to coach this team. Why did you guys express it that aggressively and make it absolutely clear to the free agents?
PAT RILEY: I'm just going to set that straight. I had one free agent ask me: You're not going to coach this team, right? So we don't want you to coach this team. No, I say that kiddingly. But that's not an issue.
I made that comment a long time ago. And it was made as a comment as more of a defensive thing because I keep getting challenged about the fact that I can never coach again. For some reason, I can't coach again wherever it is, on Mars, wherever it is.
But Erik Spoelstra is the head coach of this team. And he's been with this organization for a long time. He's done a great, great job. And he's going to coach this team. I'm not going to coach this team. They don't want me to coach the team. That's just the way it is.

Q. Erik, even though this has been whispered about for days, for weeks, for months, couple of years, it seems like, when this really became finalized, when it became crystallized, concrete, was there any part of you that said: I can't believe Pat, Micky, Nick, the organization pulled this off? Is there any part of you that really can't believe from where you were two years ago, you have these three guys to lead your team next year?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: I'll say this: The plan has been there for a couple of years. We all knew about the plan. Probably more than anything, the single thing I've learned from Pat, working for him for 15 years, is to think big. Really.
I mean, every single conversation. It doesn't even have to be about basketball. We could be talking about redoing a kitchen or something, and he'll turn it into making it a two-level state-of-the-art something that's not around for 20 years, that type of thing.
But he does think big. And he gets you to believe. He really does. So this is something that's been in the makings for a couple of years. He's been talking about the Triple Play. We used to laugh and sometimes our minds would wander. You start to get excited about it.
But when we actually got to visit in front of these players, you know, you could see it. And the players started to believe. And I think each one of these guys mentioned it. It's real.
It starts from the top with Micky Arison and the Arison family, of building a true family atmosphere and Pat making this a first-class organization, something that we all feel a lot of pride working here. And something that carries over. And the players really could see that in our meetings.

Q. You famously told us the story, you're on vacation, you're out in the water and all of a sudden you get an idea and start paddling back in to get the idea down. Has that process started yet for you?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yes, it has. Obviously, as soon as LeBron mentioned where he was going, that was the final piece. And we'd been already scheming some things in the office quite a bit on the whiteboard. It's going to be an exciting opportunity for this franchise.
It's not just the three of them. It really is the structure of this franchise. And we think this is going to be a desirable place for people to come join us. And we're not running away from the expectations. This was a bold night. Pat, you know, refers to me a lot of times as new school/old school. The philosophy is part of my fabric.
So I get this. I got caught up in it. I think it's exciting. But eventually, you know, we're going to have to get to the game plan. If I had it my way, I would like to get these guys in practice jerseys and get up there and practice today. But it will be about the sweat. It will be about the work. We know where we're going, what the destination is. But it will be about the process first.

Q. Even though you've been thinking about it for a couple of years, and like Alonzo said, you guys have been confident it would happen for a while now, could you take me through as much as detail as you can recall, just from the time you called Dwyane that morning of July 1st through the meetings, through the final announcements of their intentions and how each moment or each time your emotions kind of wavered or went through that whole process?
PAT RILEY: It was a tough week. 12:01.1, dial. And he picked up. He said, that's pretty quick, Coach. And he can still refer to me as that. The next call went to Udonis and went to other free agents that are on this team. Then finally I got in touch with Chris. These were people that we wanted to reach out to at that particular time and show our interest.
We were about ready to go into meetings in Los Angeles. So Dwyane, I think, has given us something that we at times have taken for granted. And I've seen that it was a heavy load. I mean, one-man dominant teams that are constantly banging their head against the wall to try to do whatever they can to do to win doesn't mean that he doesn't have enough around him. He has enough around him. But you can't win in this league anymore really big with one guy. I don't care how great they are. I think LeBron proves it. I think Chris proves it.
There are these three players, collective 21 years, one championship with this kind of talent. So he was desperate. I mean, Dwyane's desperate to win. And we're just glad that he's back. And we're glad that he actually was in a position where he could draw Chris, and then the final thing was above and beyond. While we can dream of those things, we never expect those things to happen.
So it's a reality. And I think Dwyane had a lot to do with it. And I think they respected him enough to come down here.

Q. Pat, Dwyane talked about the desire to have Udonis back. Where do you stand with Udonis?
PAT RILEY: We're very, very active in conversations with him. Until probably Monday or Tuesday, you know, I have a very good feeling that we're going to be able to do something to have UD consider. He deserves -- again, he's like Zo. He's part of being an anchor here. So we'll do everything we can.
And when the troops went up to his house for his birthday in "We want you back" T-shirts, I have one in my office to remind me, that I think there might be some good news in the beginning of the week about UD.

Q. It's pretty well documented that some of these meetings you were seen pacing nervously, even last night, this morning on the tarmac, if you will, seemed like even then, with all this decided, you still seemed (indiscernible). Is the overriding emotion for you relief? What is it?
PAT RILEY: Tim got a telephone call from Andy. And Andy finally -- what time is it? It's 11:20. It was about 11:10. He said the deals are done. And we call it landing the plane. He said the deals are done. They're finished. Transactions have been completed. They've been through the League office.
And, again, I cannot thank Andy Elisburg enough. This doesn't get done without him. And, I mean, he's like a left hand and a right hand but he's your brain. But that was what it's all about. You want to make sure that these deals are done and that they're into the League and they're okayed and everybody is healthy.
So that's when I felt really good about these three guys. Now we've got to move on to Sunday and Monday.

Q. Pat, the feeling of accomplishment when you pull something like this off, is there any comparison at all to the feeling you would have gotten as a coach when you win a championship?
PAT RILEY: This was a process that when Micky and I sat down and talked about two years ago when we had to make a major move with the franchise and we traded Shaquille O'Neal. I mean, at that particular time we felt with Dwyane's injuries and all the things that were going on with the franchise that we were going to probably rebuild.
That was the time to think about it. And there was no doubt that we started to look at, well, 2010. And we wanted to be able to create a platform and free up enough space to be a player in '10. That was two and a half years ago.
So it's been that kind of process and that thinking since that time. And we disciplined ourselves as much as we could not to take any contracts. I mean, there are things that could have interrupted this process. We were in active trades at the trading deadline two years in a row that we wanted to bring players and surround Dwyane and maybe sometimes those trades didn't go through. And I'm glad now that they didn't, because we possibly couldn't have been able to do this. We were actively always trying to improve the team but really had our eye on 2010 to be a player.
And so to me it was sort of a work in progress all the time.

Q. You had Showtime, Magic and Kareem and Worthy. When you visualize these three players that you've got now in this franchise, how good can they be, as three players altogether?
PAT RILEY: We were talking before we went in and had our meeting with LeBron. And we were talking about how do you compare the possibility of being able to do what we could do, which is we had the ability, we had the ability as a team to take in three players, two players plus two, maybe one plus three or four. We had enough room to be able to take in players.
So we started to compare -- LeBron would be Magic and Dwyane would be Kobe and that Chris would be Kevin Garnett. We started to think about in those terms about the people who we were talking to. So he actually liked that conversation we had when we were talking about Magic with LeBron. He sort of lit up and he said that would be great if I didn't have to score, that he could be maybe the first guy since Oscar Robertson to be a triple-double guy.
But he also said to us his goal was to be the Defensive Player of the Year. So they're arguing about that now. It's going to be interesting to see D-Wade and these guys in practice. So their heads are in the right place. And they have a great respect for that history of those kinds of players you're talking about.

Q. Pat, even with you guys, with those guys taking less money, it would seem that you're approaching the salary cap. How confident are you that there is going to be enough money left to get some of these last couple of players that you really want?
PAT RILEY: I think, I mean, from a room standpoint, I think we're still going to be within range to be able to negotiate with some players. So that process over the next two days will take care of itself.

Q. Talk about the -- give us a picture of what you did with the rings. Did you just lay them out? Did you have them on your hands?
PAT RILEY: It's like a weapon.
ERIK SPOELSTRA: We were wondering what it was. He put the bag, put a piece of paper over the bag. What is that, jingle bells?
PAT RILEY: Habit of duplicating them. So they've always said that I was a man that had some savoir faire. It's up to you to judge.
But I try to match up, like my wife, my jewelry and my belt buckle and whatever it is. So sometimes you have to have a sterling silver ring and sometimes you have to have a gold ring. It wasn't my idea. It was more my wife's than anything else.
So over the years they multiply by duplicating them, and so -- they're in a bag in my desk. And now I'm going to lock them up and put them in a safety deposit box.
Chris still has one that I gave him. Don't lose it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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