SAN ANTONIO — Phil Jackson has some thoughts on the Heat and Pat Riley.
In an interview with ESPN, the Knicks president said he “found it surprising” that Riley’s communication with Dwyane Wade broke down this summer. Throw in the way LeBron James left Miami, Jackson said Riley might have lost his “nice vibe with the guys.”
Here are Jackson’s comments on Riley and the Heat …
ESPN: You, Popovich and Pat Riley are the most decorated coaches of your generation. What separates Riley?
Jackson: “Pat has a terrific sense of what he wants to do. Now that I’m president, I have to read all this stuff about the league. Usually it’s ‘delete, delete, delete.’ But I noticed there was something about D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) and Pat’s communication breaking down the other day. I wondered about that. I found it surprising.”
ESPN: It all started when LeBron left, right? Could you have ever imagined Earvin Johnson leaving Riley, or Michael Jordan leaving you?
Jackson: “It had to hurt when they lost LeBron. That was definitely a slap in the face. But there were a lot of little things that came out of that. When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now (coach Erik) Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, ‘What do I do in this situation?’ And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, ‘You are on the plane, you are with this team.’ You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.
“I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.”