3 People to blame for the Heat’s disappointing season

The Miami Heat entered the 2023-2024 season as the reigning Eastern Conference champions, but that was far from the same story by the end of it.
Miami Heat Introduce Jimmy Butler
Miami Heat Introduce Jimmy Butler / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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1. Pat Riley

Some could argue that Pat Riley and the Heat front office set this team up for a lost season from the very beginning. Everybody is familiar with last year’s summer-long Damian Lillard drama, and no matter what the circumstances were, Riley failed to get the job done. Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers tenure came to an end following the team wanting to go into a different direction with a rebuild.

That’s when the All-NBA guard requested to be traded to Miami, and specifically only Miami. There were clearly some personal feelings involved when it came to Blazers GM Joe Cronin dealing with Riley and the Heat, but at the end of the day, Riley halted an entire offseason of potential signings or other trades over waiting for Lillard.

The superstar wound up being dealt to the rival Milwaukee Bucks just a week before the start of preseason. At that point, it was simply way too late for Miami to recover. Riley not only put all his eggs in one basket but failed to bring Jimmy Butler and this Heat core the necessary help to get them over the hump.

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