Until Tuesday, Miami Heat President Pat Riley had addressed the team’s offseason roster moves solely through a series of statements in press releases.
But with the Heat’s 2021-22 season opening Thursday against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, Riley held court at FTX Arena on a variety of topics.
— Riley was asked about the Heat decision to stay under the luxury-tax threshold by starting the season with only 14 players under standard contract, one below the league maximum.
The Heat currently stand roughly $400,000 with their payroll below the punitive tax, without space to sign even an additional minimum-scale player. By avoiding the tax, the Heat would receive in excess of $10 million from the tax pool.
Riley and Heat owner Micky Arison have stressed over the years a willingness to pay into the tax when they believe the team is in championship contention. By avoiding the tax this season, however, it would ease the Heat’s position against the severe repeater tax in future seasons.
“I think you have to prove, first, that you’re the kind of team that can play at that level,” Riley said, “and then you can make that investment.
“Obviously we’re a team that has paid the tax. We’re a team that always believes we’re going to compete, we’re going to win. And the season isn’t over yet.
“We can jump in there is we have to.”
Riley said he first would like to get through the first 20 games before addressing the need for personnel moves.
— Of Victor Oladipo’s status potentially impacting tax spending, Riley said of the guard recovering from May arthroscopic surgery, “You really don’t know when that’s going to happen.”