Heat president Pat Riley on trip to bring relief to Florida Keys: ‘We couldn’t believe what we were seeing’

Heat President Pat Riley on a shopping spree last week at the Miami Shores Publix . (Photo Rise Miami News)

Pat Riley’s shopping spree at a Miami Shores Publix a week ago was not his only involvement in Hurricane Irma relief.

Riley, Steve Stowe, who heads the Heat’s charitable fund, and equipment manager Rob Pimental were part of a convoy to the Florida Keys last week to assist with relief. The group was gone more than 20 hours, making stops near Sugarloaf Key and Big Pine Key, two of the hardest hit areas from Irma.

“It was heart rendering to go out to these places and see these people,” Riley said today after the Heat unveiled Ultimate Software as their uniform patch sponsor.

“You don’t realize it until you get out there and see what was going on, especially going down there. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”

And Riley is not through helping the state recover from the powerful storm. He announced today that through the Pat and Chris Riley Family foundation he is pledging $1 million to Irma relief. This is in addition to the $10 million pledged through the Heat Charitable Fund, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation

Additionally, the Heat are encouraging fans to log onto youcaring.com/heat to donate.  The organization will match all funds raised.

Last week Riley was photographed pushing a shopping cart he was filling with items to purchase for storm victims. He made stops around the city to El Portal,  Miami Shores, Overtown and Little Haiti where he would hand out items before return to Publix for another load, and head to another part of the city.

Prior to his shopping spree, Riley awoke one morning thinking he was just going to be buying food to be put on trucks and shipped to the Keys when he became a part of the recovery effort. Riley, Stowe and Pimental jumped in a van and followed three semi-trailer trucks that were loaded with relief items.

“I didn’t know that was going to happen,” he said. “I was just going out to get some water and rice and beans and spam and then it just ended up. Just was part of the spirit.

“I went in and became part of what everybody else was doing,” he said. “Most of them were first responders.”

Since, Riley has been paying close attention to the recovery efforts in the  Keys.
“What I saw was beyond what I thought,” he said. “These were certain areas that needed a little bit more help initially.

“Now to listening to the mayor (of Key West) and listening to people from Key West, they are so resilient saying we are going to have this done in three or four months and they got so much more to put together.”

Riley updated the damage that was done to the outer membrane of the Heat’s practice facility. He said the roof started leaking in several spots but a team of Heat employees who stayed at AmericanAirlines Arena during the storm scrambled to find trash cans to spread around the practice floor to catch the water.

“They saved the court,” Riley said, adding that if they had not acted the floor would have needed repairs, which would have taken some time.
Although the Heat start camp Tuesday, they will be training at Florida Atlantic University on Boca Raton for five days.

[Miami Heat individual game tickets on sale to general public Friday]

[Miami Heat 2017 training camp preview: James Johnson taking over at power forward]

[A look at each player on the Miami Heat’s roster: Who’s on the roster? Who won’t be back?]

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Miami Heat 2017 training camp preview: Who will be the starting small forward?

Justise Winslow #20 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on December 14, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With the Heat starting training camp on Tuesday, we are ramping up our coverage with our position-by-position breakdowns. Today we bring you a closer look at where Miami stands at the small forward position. Check back later this week for a look at the Heat’s power forwards and centers. Continue reading “Miami Heat 2017 training camp preview: Who will be the starting small forward?”

Miami Heat exercise fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow for 2018-19

MIAMI — With the Sept. 26 start of training camp just one week away, the Heat are making sure their roster is ready to go.

On Monday, Miami signed Josh Richardson to a four-year, $42 million extension that will start in 2018-19 and added undrafted rookie forward Erik McCree as the 19th player on its preseason roster.

And on Tuesday, the Heat announced, as expected, that they have exercised their fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow’s rookie-scale contract. The move guarantees Winslow $3.5 million for the 2018-19 season. Continue reading “Miami Heat exercise fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow for 2018-19”

Mailbag: What do long-term investments in Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson mean for rest of Heat guards?

MIAMI — After losing Dwyane Wade last offseason, the Heat were left with a big void to fill at the guard position.

One year later, some would say Miami has too many guards on its roster. After making long-term investments in Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson this offseason, what does the future hold for the rest of the guards on the Heat’s roster? Continue reading “Mailbag: What do long-term investments in Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson mean for rest of Heat guards?”

Goran Dragic leads Slovenia to EuroBasket gold with 35 points, named MVP of tournament

MIAMI — Goran Dragic will walk away from the international basketball stage with a gold medal.

After posting on social media last month his intention to retire from international play following this year’s EuroBasket, Dragic went out and made sure his last few games with the Slovenian national team were memorable ones. But the one Dragic is probably going to remember the most came Sunday when he led Slovenia to gold in a 93-85 win over Serbia in the EuroBasket championship. Continue reading “Goran Dragic leads Slovenia to EuroBasket gold with 35 points, named MVP of tournament”

After riding out Irma, Udonis Haslem joins Erik Spoelstra, Nick Arison to help South Florida’s pet population

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, captain Udonis Haslem with dogs that were flown to the Bay Area to help make room in South Florida shelters (Photo Tom D’Angelo)

MIAMI – Leave it to the Captain and the Heat’s only Miami native to ride out Hurricane Irma.

While the rest of his teammates were evacuating, Udonis Haslem remained in his Southwest Ranches home with his family and three dogs.

“It’s not that I don’t respect the power of Mother Nature because I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mother Nature,” Haslem said. “But I built a bunker. I paid a lot of money for it. I’m going down with my ship.”

Haslem, like many, was spared with the most damage coming to his trees and fence. My yard took a beating,” he said. So he did what most of us have been doing for the last three days, rolled up his sleeves and went to work.

“It’s been a long time since I did that kind of work,” he said. “I just saw everybody in my neighborhood cleaning out trees and I said ‘Let me get out there and clean out my trees.’

“Why not?”

But Haslem knew his work was not done even when he finished cutting and dragging tree limbs to the curb. Before the storm hit he had called around informing the Heat and anyone else that he was available to be called into action.

On Friday, Haslem, coach Erik Spoelstra, CEO Nick Arison and several Heat employees helped load 150 pets into crates at Miami International Airport so they could be transported to Oakland, Calif., where members of the Golden State Warriors were waiting to unload the pets. Haslem, an admitted animal lover who said he walked his three dogs as much as he could during the storm, assisted in giving the dogs a little outdoors time before their flight took off.

The pets were being transported to Bay Area shelters to make room in the Miami area shelters for pets abandoned during Irma.

“There are so many areas that need help,” Spoelstra said. “This is an area that often gets forgotten, the displaced animals, and some of the horrific stories about animals getting left behind in the storm. Many of the animals would have been euthanized this weekend.”

    The project is a joint effort by the Heat, Warriors and Federal Express. Additionally, Heat owner Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine will make an immediate donation of $2.5 million from their foundation to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support the most timely and urgent relief needs in the wake of Irma.

Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Arison’s company, and the Miami Heat Charitable Fund are each pledging to raise a combined $5 million in funding for relief and recovery efforts. The Arisons will match that commitment up to a total of $5 million, including the organization’s initial $2.5 million donation, bringing the total to $10 million.

Spoelstra, who evacuated his Coconut Grove home, said the families of Micky Arison and president Pat Riley are behind the Heat’s community involvement, especially in times of need. On Thursday, Riley drove to a Publix, without notifying the organization, and started pushing a cart up and down the aisles, purchasing items to hand out in the Little Haiti section of Miami.

“(They) don’t know any different,” Spoelstra said. “I’ve seen their example. And the Arison family has been so deeply rooted in the community for so long that as soon as something happens they activate and they get everybody else motivated to do something.”

Spoelstra was behind many of his players leaving town, saying he made the suggestion, especially considering most had never experienced a hurricane.

Spoelstra and his wife, Nikki, evacuated their Coconut Grove home. They returned to find it in good shape.

“It doesn’t make you more courageous to stay. I think we all learned a lesson from Houston,” he said, referring to Hurricane Harvey. “If you can get out early and secure your house and secure your properties discretion is the better part of valor oftentimes.

“I think we were all very fortunate with this storm but I think the numbers were roughly 7 million that evacuated. That was the smart thing to do. Once everybody is able to come back safely now we all have to lace up our boots and get to work and build back this community.”

[Goran Dragic helps power Slovenia past Spain to advance to EuroBasket championship]

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Goran Dragic helps power Slovenia past Spain to advance to EuroBasket championship

MIAMI — Goran Dragic will play for a championship on Sunday.

No, not the NBA championship. Dragic helped power Slovenia to a 92-72 victory over a Spain squad led by Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio in the EuroBasket semifinals on Thursday to advance to the tournament’s championship game. Continue reading “Goran Dragic helps power Slovenia past Spain to advance to EuroBasket championship”

Here’s how the Miami Heat plan to help those affected by Hurricane Irma

Heat captain Udonis Haslem and coach Erik Spolestra will be among those helping to load pets for relocation to create space at area shelters. (Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Miami Heat plan to help those affected by Hurricane Irma in a variety of ways.

First, Carnival Corporation, the Miami Heat Charitable Fund, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. Continue reading “Here’s how the Miami Heat plan to help those affected by Hurricane Irma”

Why did the Heat give Josh Richardson a $42 million extension? Retaining and developing talent has become a priority

MIAMI — Pat Riley believes in the Heat’s young nucleus.

That core includes 28-year-old center Hassan Whiteside, 21-year-old forward Justise Winslow, 25-year-old guard Tyler Johnson and 23-year-old Josh Richardson. Developing this group is a big part of Miami’s plan moving forward. Continue reading “Why did the Heat give Josh Richardson a $42 million extension? Retaining and developing talent has become a priority”

Miami Heat, Josh Richardson agree to 4-year, $42 million extension

The Heat’s Josh Richardson tries to get a shot off between Detroit’s Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris during a game in March. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Miami Heat are putting their faith in guard Josh Richardson.

The Heat and Richardson have agreed to a four-year, $42 million extension starting in 2018-19, according to a source. The deal, which has yet to be signed, includes a player option for the fourth year.

Richardson, who turns 24 Friday, became eligible for an extension last month. A second-round pick in the 2015 draft (40th overall) out of Tennessee, the 6-foot-6 guard will make $1.47 million this season.

Richardson becomes part of a Heat nucleus that includes center Hassan Whiteside; forwards James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo; and guards Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson. All are under contract for at least the next three seasons.

[A look at each player on the Miami Heat’s roster: Who’s on the roster? Who won’t be back?]

[A closer look at the bonuses that allowed the Miami Heat to keep Wayne Ellington this summer]

After emerging late in his rookie season, Richardson had a tough second season in 2016-17 because of injuries. He got off to a slow start, missing 10 of the first 23 games because of a knee injury that forced him to miss all of training camp, and a sprained ankle. He then missed 19 games after spraining his left foot before returning to play in the final 25 games.

Richardson slowly worked his way back and after Waiters was injured in March, Richardson played his best basketball at the end of the season. He averaged 15 points and shot 53.1 percent from 3-point range over the final six games of the season. He finished the season averaging 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

A big part of Richardson’s value to the Heat is his versatility and his defense. He can play shooting guard, point guard and small forward and his long, wiry frame allows him to defend all three perimeter spots.

Among NBA guards who defended at least 400 shots last season, Richardson was seventh-best as he limited the player he was guarding to 41 percent shooting (215 of 524).

Following the season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said one of the most disappointing things of last season was not being able to see Richardson build on the strong finish to his rookie season.

“I think you’ll see great improvement again, but probably the improvement that was there last year,” Spoelstra said.

Richardson made a league-best 53.3 percent of his 3-point shots after the All-Star break as a rookie.

With training camp set to start Sept. 26, the Heat have 18 players under contract.

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