Whenever Miami Heat team president Pat Riley addresses the NBA media for his annual postseason press conference, it’s a good time to gather up some popcorn and take in the show. Riley never holds back on his opinions of his team, especially when it comes to where he sees needed improvement. He can be unpredictable: He might, from time to time, poke fun at rival executives or, as he did this year, challenge reporters to push-up contests.
But when Riley spoke this week, one of his most telling comments came about point guard Kyle Lowry, whom the team signed as a free agent last summer. Riley said that Lowry will, next season, need to “address” his subpar conditioning. “The bottom line with me and for me as far as hoping you can get the most out of a player … is that you have to be in world-class shape, you just have to be,” Riley said.
Lowry, who turned 36 in March, was not. Whether that had anything to do with the hamstring injury that struck him in the first round of the playoffs and wound up costing him eight games this postseason is debatable. But after averaging 13.4 points and 7.5 assists on 44.0% shooting in the regular season, Lowry cratered to 7.8 points, 4.7 assists and 29.1% shooting in the playoffs.
‘My $30 Million Point Guard Is Fat’
Since Riley’s press conference, there has been talk of a potential rift between Lowry and the organization, and that perhaps the Heat will look to trade Lowry. As one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy.com, though, don’t buy that for a minute.
“Pat is tough,” the GM said. “He has been doing this for a long, long time. Every time he gets in front of a microphone, he is sending a message to a player, or to a bunch of players. It is intentional. And his message to Kyle was, OK, you are a veteran and you did things your way for this year and we lost and you struggled. Now let’s do things my way, let’s do things the Heat way. That is what he was saying.
“You don’t say that if you are planning on trading the guy away. You don’t say, ‘My $30 million point guard is fat, who wants to trade for him?’”
Indeed, Lowry is under contract …read more