Pat Riley speaks about current Heat rebuild, vision for Hassan Whiteside, loss of Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat president Pat Riley speaks during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Miami. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

Miami Heat president Pat Riley speaks during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Miami. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

SAN ANTONIO — When Pat Riley speaks, it’s almost always interesting.

The Heat president didn’t disappoint in a Q&A with NBA.com’s David Aldridge released Monday. Riley spoke about his plans for the current Heat rebuild, his vision for Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, and — yes — the loss of Dwyane Wade.

Here are the most interesting tidbits from NBA.com’s sit-down with Riley.

* When asked what he looks for when rebuilding a team, Riley named one thing — talent. “It’s the raw talent that we can find,” Riley said. “So talent is still, always and will forever be at the top of the list. So we feel that with Hassan, and with Justise and Tyler (Johnson) and Josh (Richardson), and some of the new guys who we got this summer, four or five of those young guys can create a nucleus.”

* Riley said he has “intentions, if it’s possible, to try and get another pick” in the upcoming draft. The Heat already have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. But Miami 2017 second-round pick belongs to the Hawks from the 2013 draft-day trade that netted James Ennis in that second round. The pick is protected through the first 10 selections of the 2017 second round, which means the Heat will keep the second-round pick if they finish with one of the NBA’s 10 worst records this season.

* Interesting tidbit … Riley said the Heat “almost drafted” Hassan Whiteside in 2010. Instead, Miami took center Dexter Pittman with the 32nd overall pick in the second round. Whiteside went to the Kings with the 33rd overall pick.

* Riley said there was “no trepidation” when he decided to give center Hassan Whiteside a max contract this past summer. “When you look at how the game is played now, when you look at how it has evolved and how it’s played, he’s the perfect center,” Riley said of Whiteside. “I’m telling you, within a year, we’re going to be running a lot of offense through this guy. He’s never had that kind of pressure on him … These (superstar) guys, you went through them seven or eight possessions in a row. It didn’t make any difference. You knew you were going to get a shot. You would get one through them, or you were going to get one on the other side of the court because of the double team. … He’s not ready for that yet, but also, that’s not the game we need him for right now.”

* Justise Winslow is shooting 33.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent on threes this season. But Riley said Winslow “needs more and more failure” to continue to grow as a player. “Everybody’s examining and micro-managing his 3-point shot,” Riley said. “But this kid is a player. He’s a competitor. He is one of the all-time heart guys and can make an impact defensively, on rebounds, tough dig-outs, offensive boards. His offensive game is going to come when people shut up about it … I’m not concerned about Justise. We have a winner there, and we were very fortunate to get him. ”

* Riley made an interesting comment in the Q&A when discussing the events leading up to the trade that brought Shaquille O’Neal to Miami in 2004. “We had a great little team that could. But it wasn’t going to win anything,” Riley said. “Of course, I was impatient, and guess what? Diesel came on the market. Shaq came on the market. And we moved very quickly to try to win. And I think that’s the one thing that Micky (Arison) — you mentioned giving players millions and millions of dollars. Well, it’s not my money. I don’t think Micky has ever made a bad multi-million dollar deal with players. He’s willing to pay for the talent that he knows will make a difference.”

It makes you wonder if Riley will be “impatient” again this season if a star becomes available on the trade market or in free agency.

* Think Dwyane Wade’s departure didn’t hurt Riley? Take a look at these comments …

“We’ll always love him,” Riley said. “We’ll never forget him. I can listen to ‘The Way We Were’ by Willie Hutch and I’ll come to tears just thinking about him. Or I can listen to “Always Together” by the Dells. See, only you and I know these songs. And I’ll come to tears thinking about him. I’m a cold-assed, cold-hearted Irishman. And I was raised in that kind of environment by a coach, by Dad, three brothers that were in the military that were athletes, eight coaches that were tough-minded guys. Believe me, that was a tough hit when Dwyane left.

* Riley said the Heat will wait until after Dwyane Wade retires to put his jersey up in the rafters. Interestingly enough, Riley said Wade told him four years ago that he was only going to play two more seasons. “Cause he was getting hurt and all that stuff,” Riley said. “Now I read where he said he wants to play until he’s 40. That would be five, six years from now. We’re saving a spot for him up there. He’s just a special, special player, and he’s been a special player for this franchise.”

* Would Riley change how he handled the Dwyane Wade situation? “If we ever had to do it again, when LeBron left (in 2014), we should have given Chris the max, and Dwyane the max,” Riley said. “And that was it. Instead of trying to say to Dwayne, I want to get another guy for you, but you have to sacrifice. And that was wrong. I should have given him — we should have given him — that then.”

Instead, Chris Bosh got a five-year, $118 million max contract, and Wade got a two-year, $31.1 million contract in 2014.

“Dwyane needs winning,” Riley said. “And if we gave him all that he wanted, he would have been very angry with me. He would have been in my office and he’s going to be saying to me, ‘where are they? Where are the players?’”

[Phil Jackson wonders if Heat president Pat Riley has lost his ‘vibe’]

[Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on disappointing effort Saturday: ‘It’s not any one dude’]

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