Pat Riley fined for saying LeBron would be welcome back with Heat

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By , Audacy Sports

Miami Heat president Pat Riley has been fined by the NBA for his remarks about the prospect of LeBron James someday returning to the Heat during a recent radio appearance.

Riley was docked $25,000 by the league for violating tampering rules, which forbids team executives and coaches from commenting on acquiring players who are under contract with other teams.

During the interview on the Dan Le Batard Show, Riley seemed to suggest that a reunion with James in South Beach -- where the four-time MVP famously took his talents from 2010-2013 -- was unlikely, but said he would "leave a key under the doormat" if James told him he wanted to come back.

The basketball legends were said to have fallen out over James' return to the Cavaliers in 2014. At the time, James said a Heat executive with whom he previously thought he had a strong relationship told him that going back to Cleveland was a massive mistake, though he declined to name the exec. Riley later admitted in a 2018 book that he was "livid" for several days after the departure, believing it had upset his plan to build a dynasty that could have lasted a decade or more.

But Riley's comments last week seemed to indicate a thawing of hard feelings, if in fact there were any. Now, for airing those feelings publicly, Riley is $25,000 lighter in the wallet.

James is under contract with the Lakers for two more seasons. His plan beyond then is unclear, though he has indicated interest in potentially playing in the NBA alongside his son Bronny, presently a sophomore in high school.

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