Miami Heat Mailbag: Is there a plan in place for Pat Riley’s successor? Can a star be acquired next year?

Andy Elisburg, Pat Riley and Nick Arison celebrated the Miami Heat’s championship in 2013 (Getty Images)

The dog days of the NBA calendar are around the corner so Heat fans are starting to look into the future, on and off the court.

We look at that day when Pat Riley decides to ride off to Malibu, the chances of the Heat acquiring a star player – either through a trade or free agency – next year and more.

If you weren’t able to ask a question, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter to @Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44.

From @Diehardheatfan1: What do you think Pat Riley’s big move will be moving forward down the road? Do you foresee him getting a superstar? If so, who?

Let’s put it this way, if there is one available Riley and the Heat will be in the conversation. The biggest reason is now he has the assets, even though that does not include draft picks. Riley has several more players on affordable, reasonable annual contracts since the James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk signings that could be used in a package for a star player or to open cap space to sign a big name free agent.

As to who will become available, that’s difficult to say. Two years ago nobody believed the Bulls would move Jimmy Butler and a year ago Paul George being traded from Indiana wasn’t even a thought. Right now the thought is possibly New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, who will be a free agent next summer. But the chances are other stars will be on the market, too, by the end of the upcoming season or, if the plan is to pursue a player through free agency, Miami could make moves to open cap space.

From @abdrrhmnkyklk: If Riley were to step down today, who would replace him? Spo as a coach-president with Elisburg serving as GM or Elisburg as GM directly?

The question every Heat fans never wants to know the answer to because that means Pat Riley is retiring. We all know the day is coming. But when?

In September Riley said he and Micky Arison have talked about a successor plan and several names likely came up, one being Spoelstra who has been mentored by Riley since both arrived in Miami in the summer of 1995.

Spoelstra loves coaching and he has no desire move on just yet. But he did address the possibility of having a role similar to Riley’s one day during a podcast with The Vertical following the season.

“I’m a Pat Riley disciple,” he said. “He’s always pushed me and nurtured me for the next step, so yes. I would love to have that opportunity years down the line for the Arison family because I believe in them so much as human beings. They’re such good people and family oriented.”

The Heat hired Shane Battier in February to head the analytics department and some speculated Battier was being groomed to be Riley’s replacement. And of course there is Elisburg, the man Riley continually praises for his knowledge and ability to put together a deal.

“Whatever one day Micky or Nick (Arison) wants to do then I think they have a good blend of people,” Riley said last week. “One thing about that, now there’re a lot of opinions, there’re a lot of voices. As people begin to grow in an organization, they want more of a position, more say. Their opinions are stronger. They have more confidence, which I do like. Andy and I get in arguments all the time.”

So to answer your question: To be determined.

From: ChrisHypeTrain: Opinions on Lonzo and reboot of the lakers?

Tom: Ball has been impressive and will help the Lakers. He clearly has been the story of summer league but remember, it is just summer league. Ball is more of a pure point guard that any of the top picks in the draft and the young players around him seem to trust his leadership and passing ability. In that sense he will help a young team like L.A. His scoring has surprised me but his shot remains a concern and it will be interesting if he has success with it at the NBA level. The Lakers will be improved but they are a long way from the playoffs.

Anthony: The Lakers won’t be a playoff team next season, but Ball sure does look impressive in summer league games. If Ball can continue to impress when the real games start, he could be another factor that helps Magic Johnson attract a star to Los Angeles. Will it be LeBron James or Paul George? Or maybe both? The Lakers are clearly planning to make a big splash next summer. But this upcoming season won’t be full of wins. It should be full of fun, though, with Ball running the show.

[LeBron James is back in Miami and he seems nostalgic]

[Heat President Pat Riley’s unique solution to stop teams from tanking]

[Could the Miami Heat be holding onto their exception for Dwyane Wade?]e, where do the Miami Heat stand?]

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