Heat’s Pat Riley on improving team, Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside and retirement (he’s not)

Miami Heat president Pat Riley and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra at Miami Heat training camp at FAU in Boca Raton in September. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI – Pat Riley’s year-end state-of-the-team address Monday revealed plenty about what the Miami Heat president thinks about his team, its future and players like Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade.

Just as we brought you what coach Erik Spoelstra said last week, here are some highlights from what Riley had to say.

* Riley said nobody on the Heat is “untouchable” when it comes to trades and making the team better: “We’re not going to stop (trying to get better) and it doesn’t make any difference how we do it. Whether you’re a room team, whether you’re capped out, whether you’ve got a lot of guys under contract, whether you’re limited with your picks, you keep working toward your goal. That’s what we’re going to do. How we’re going to do it is irrelevant. We’re going to continue to try to make the team better internally, from within obviously.

“While internal improvement and development is a huge part of our organization, going outside and looking around … and now is the opportunity to have those conversations — trying to find a transformative player, maybe, is probably what our challenge is going to be.”

* Riley did not go easy on Hassan Whiteside and said there was a “disconnect” between Whiteside and coach Erik Spoelstra: “There has to be an intervention and I’m going to be the intervener. That’s real. There’s no doubt he was in a bad state in the playoffs.” He added that because of injuries, Whiteside was “not ready” and not in “in great shape” for the playoffs.

“He had a bad year this year. He’s got to come back strong next year. I’m going to try to help him as much as I can. I’m going to try to help the both of them so we can keep him on the court 30 minutes a game. But he’s got to help himself.”

* One year ago, Riley said the Heat had a ‘Plan A’ and a ‘Plan B.’ What about now? “I gave you Plan A, just take off for the summer, come back in October with the same team. That’s not going to happen. Plan B is sitting with (GM) Andy (Elisburg) … and we’ll talk. And we’ll have Plan A and Plan B. We don’t today. We have a lot of thoughts. The board is massive. There’s 450 players on the board and so he’s already had a book, three books already developed on the summer and what we’re going to do. Then we will dissect those books and get to looking at them.”

* Riley clearly wants Dwyane Wade to return. He said he met with Wade on Friday but they did not talk about retirement. “We had a good conversation but we didn’t get into it,” he said. “We didn’t get into … I don’t like to talk to a player about retirement because when you start talking to a player about retirement, guess what? He retires. So I don’t want to talk to he or UD about retirement because I think both players are still in great shape. They both can play.”

* Riley, 73, said he has not given any thought to retiring. “There’s always something that brings you back in, there’s something that sucks you back in. You could tell yourself in September, ‘This is my last year.’ But by the end of the season something happens that sucks you back in. ‘I can’t now. I’ve got to make the team better. We have free agency. I’ve got a draft pick. I can’t do this to Micky (Arison). I can’t do this.’”

* Wayne Ellington is a free agent, but for the Heat, who have his early Bird rights and can exceed the salary cap with him, that could mean passing the luxury-tax threshold. Riley, though, would like to see Ellington, 30, return. “We need to give that some thought,” Riley said. “There’s no doubt that we want him back. It’s how do we get him back and deal with that … threshold. The tax threshold. If we signed Wayne, OK, next year and he takes us into the tax, then that guy right over there (Elisburg) has 15 months to get us out. But we want to sign, we would love to sign Wayne back. He is pure Heat.”

[Should Heat take on final year of Carmelo Anthony’s large contract to shed future money?]

Wayne Ellington wants to return to the Heat and they want him back. But it won’t be easy as a salary-cap hurdle looms]

[Heat assistant Juwan Howard interviewing for Knicks head coaching job according to report]

[Heat’s Goran Dragic voted Most Influential person in Slovenia, ahead of Melania Trump]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]