Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/16/11

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Miami Heat Team President Pat Riley watches on the sideline prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
MIAMI - And you thought Pat Riley was impatient. This is, after all, the guy who once guaranteed his Lakers would win a second straight NBA title (they did). Hes the one who moved into the coaching chair during the 2005-06 season to replace Stan Van Gundy and then led Miami to the NBA crown. And hes the guy many have assumed has been ready to replace Erik Spoelstra for another stint on the Heat bench if the LeBron James-Dwayne Wade-Chris Bosh trifecta isnt working out as planned. So what has the Heat president done? Well, patient Pat revealed Friday that Spoelstra, whose Heat lost the NBA Finals 4-2 to Dallas last spring, has had his contract extended beyond this season. And Riley didnt rubber stamp Wades declaration earlier this week that, If we dont win a championship, yes, its a bust year. You got to earn the right to get to the point where you can say, OK, its championship or bust, said Riley, who didnt specifically mention Wade. After six or seven years of being together and winning championships or being in the Finals five or six times, then I think you can say that. But I think that puts too much pressure on you. I think we all know what this team is capable of doing, that they are contenders. I believe that, and thats all we are. And theres no sense of putting any extra pressure on yourself because when you get to the moment of truth, youve got to be relaxed. It sounds as if Riley, who won five titles as a head coach, doesnt mind if a towel is stuck in the mouth of a Heat player talking championship. Thats what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did jokingly to Riley after his Lakers in 1988 had made good on Rileys guarantee of a second straight crown and he was asked about another one. Riley said Friday he made the guarantee of a repeat because the Lakers had gotten soft in seasons after winning championships. The Lakers, with no public guarantee from Riley, didnt win a third straight crown in 1989. However, Riley did register a trademark for the term three-peat before that season. But back to Riley and patience. It would be wrong to say he hasnt shown it at times. The Heat spent three years waiting to get salary-cap room to go after James and Bosh to join Wade in the summer of 2010. And perhaps that Riley did secure those guys allows him additional patience in this new NBA era, which might not see as many arms races among teams. Addressing the media Friday, Riley touched upon how a much more punitive luxury tax in the NBAs new collective bargaining agreement changes the landscape. Were very fortunate to have those three guys, said Riley, who has them under contract for four more seasons. I dont know if that will ever happen again, with these rules. But it was fortunate for us last year. Weve got three of the best players in the league. In 2013-14, in the NBAs dollar-for-dollar luxury tax will be replaced by a system in which teams over the threshold will begin paying 1.50 on each dollar. The tax will increase with each 5 million additionally that a team goes over the threshold, moving up in increments to 1.75, 2.50, 3.25, 3.75 and 4.25 per dollar. And teams that are taxpayers for four out of five seasons can add another dollar on top of that. (The new rules are) challenging, said Riley, 66, who said Friday he has no intentions of retiring in the near future. "I dont think that youre going to see on any team, I would be surprised anybody with four max players You have to plan as much as you can (for when the harder tax hits). Youre going to see us make trades or find a diamond in the rough we hope and also continue to probably use whatever mid-level (exception) we can use or portion of the mid-level to try to get better. With that in mind, Riley touched plenty more on the patience he is exhibiting. While some thought swingman Mike Miller might be a victim of the new CBAs amnesty clause, which allows a player to be waived and his salary to not count against the cap, Riley said that never was a consideration. We love Mike, Riley said of Miller, who has four years and 24 million left on his deal and whose release might have allowed the Heat to have a full 5 million mid-level exception to use this month rather than a 3 million one. Riley had talked after last season about the Heat needing to get a center. Miami, mostly due to not having the money available, didnt land a big-name big in free agency. But Riley doesn't seem overly concerned at this point. Were looking, and we will wait for something to develop, but guys are going to have to do more, said Riley, whose troubled center position has Joel Anthony starting by default, Eddy Curry being evaluated to see if he has anything left and raw prospect Dexter Pittman. Riley said he has been content to tweak the roster after the end of a five-month NBA lockout while other teams have been in frenzy to sign players. Miami has 12 returnees from last season and free-agent signee Shane Battier is the only significant addition. So the Heat will try to win another title for Riley, who has collected seven rings in total. In addition to the Miami one in 2006, he won six with the Lakers, four as a head coach, one as an assistant and one as a player. But Miami players should be advised to know how Riley feels after seasons in which he isnt fitted for a ring. What I learned about last year is what I learned about every year that you dont win a championship, is that youre miserable, Riley said. "We came so close last year, that weve got to figure out a way, to pay the price, and return with the will and the smarts to be able to get over the hump. Riley might be exercising patience now. But theres no guarantee how long it will last. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter@christomasson
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