Miami Heat President and Free Agency Mastermind, Pat Riley
LeBron James spent the first 7 years of his NBA career controlling nearly every aspect of his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. Many wondered if this would continue with the Miami Heat under the watch of NBA LEGEND, Pat Riley. The answer is a RESOUNDING NO!
According to local Cleveland radio host, Michael Reghi with ESPN 850 WKNR, LeBron James has had his privileges revoked by Pat Riley. Reghi was the Cavaliers play by play announcer for the first few years of LeBron James’ career and was removed when Dan Gilbert purchased the team. He has watched LeBron James very closely, has inside knowledge regarding the team and its operations and still has various contacts within the NBA.
For those who are not aware, LeBron James received tremendous, and sometimes inappropriate, benefits from the Cavaliers organization. They will now try to downplay it in order to minimize any repercussions with the league office and to minimize their feeling of embarrassment, but it is certainly accurate. For YEARS, LeBron James was given preferential tickets for his family and friends, locker room and team flight access for his friends (including Maverick Carter and LRMR), and even jobs and cars for part of LeBron’s entourage. In addition, LeBron regularly controlled the team’s schedule and flight itinerary in order to accommodate his ability to stay an extra night when the Cavs played in L.A., NY, Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc. This happened quite often during the year and over his 7 years in Cleveland. Some of this was grandfathered in by Gilbert upon his acquisition of the team and some of it was added in an attempt to keep LeBron happy and improve the chances of resigning him to a long-term deal.
Honestly, who could blame Dan Gilbert or the Cavaliers. LeBron is a great player and WAS a Cleveland Icon. The organization was handcuffed and were forced to continually roll over and give LeBron, his friends, and his family ridiculous benefits in an attempt to keep him. According to Reghi, Pat Riley has put an immediate stop to this type of benefit for LeBron James. One of LeBron’s friends was given, for all intents and purposes, a seat on the Cavs bench for EVERY game and several of his friends were permitted to fly on the team plane and stay in the team hotel. Pat Riley has not allowed this type of benefit, let alone the jobs and cars provided to LeBron’s friends and family and reports are that LeBron is PISSED.
Reghi indicated that this source said LeBron is very unhappy that these benefits are not being provided and that he’s starting to regret his decision to leave. In addition, in one of Miami’s final pre-season games this year against the New Orleans Hornets, LeBron is said to have approached an Assistant GM and requested that the team stay an extra night in New Orleans. When asked why, LeBron is said to have given his typical response in these instances…. to party and to hang out on Bourbon Street with Chris Paul. The Assistant GM is said to have called Pat Riley who said for “everyone get your asses back to Miami immediately”. This again, is said to have rubbed LeBron the wrong way.
As I mentioned before, Maverick Carter and LRMR were given incredible access, influence, and benefit with the Cavaliers during the LeBron James era. But in Miami, they are not allowed the same benefits or latitude and LeBron, THE ENTITLED ONE, is not very happy with Riley or with his new team. LeBron may adjust and learn to live with Riley’s groundrules, but it’s honestly doubtful that he’ll do so happily. He knows with the criticism he took this summer that he can ill afford to appear even MORE selfish and like even more of an asshole so he’ll keep quiet. But if you have paid any attention to who LeBron is and what he’s about, you’ll know that he will not take this well.
It's absolutely the right move for Riley as he has a chance to cut this type of BS out before it starts, whereas Dan Gilbert inherited much of it. If history tells us anything about Riley, we also know that he is only about ONE THING….. WINNING. Pat Riley doesn’t give 2 shits about spending the team’s off day in New Orleans for an extra night so LeBron can party with his BFF. But if history has told us anything about LeBron, it’s that he is ABSOLUTELY about this type of thing and he will not take it lightly.
LeBron will NEVER admit it because he’s too stubborn, too proud, and is honestly too hurt from the backlash he received nationwide and in Cleveland, but I think he’s starting to see that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.