If my talk show is any kind of barometer regarding the mindset of Heat fans, then I can say that a low level panic has set in as free agency moves out of the early innings. Sure, names previously linked to the Heat are now off the board. But numerous published reports claim that not only did the Heat not make offers to Marcin Gortat and Kyle Lowry before they re-signed with their teams, but the perception of the Heat's interest in those players was overstated.
What has caught me off guard is that doubt that Pat Riley will do enough to retain LeBron James has started to creep into the minds of Heat fans that are calling my show.
I shake my head in disbelief as I field those calls. Now this opinion is far from unanimous but enough to make me want to blog about it. The detractors point to the signings and subsequent underwhelming performances of Michael Beasley and Greg Oden as evidence that the game has perhaps passed Riley by.
I want to reach through the phone and shake some sense into them. No one hits on every signing and Riley is no exception. But stack his misses to the impressive resume of hits(like the Big 3 to start with!) and the motto of Heat fans should easily be, "In Pat We Trust".
So LeBron's agent, Richie Paul, has set up shop and taken meetings reportedly with the Cavaliers, Lakers, Suns, Rockets and the Mavericks. Should this strike fear in Heat fans? No. For four of those teams, I would say I can't see LeBron taking his act to the western conference where the road to the finals is much more difficult than the weak sister that is the eastern conference.
And with all the venom spewed toward James by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert in a letter after he left Cleveland for Miami, why the hell would LeBron do any favors for that guy?
Notice that LeBron hasn't met with any teams. He's letting Richie Paul handle the vetting in this initial stage. Now if James actually attends a meeting with officials from another team, then it's time to really worry. But unless and until James does that, trust Riley and assume he'll do enough to convince LeBron to sign an contract extension along with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and enough free agents necessary to complete the roster retooling Riley said he wanted to accomplish