"Pat Riley has indicated to Stan Van Gundy in reports I have received that he intends to return as coach of the Heat," ESPN analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay told the network on air Thursday. "I don't know where this leaves Stan Van Gundy, but I'm pretty certain that Riley will return as coach."
More thoughts about this from yesterday.
UPDATE: In a feeble manner (through a spokesperson, without elaboration or forceful wording) Pat Riley tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel he won't coach:
"Stan is our head coach," Riley said through a team spokesman. "We don't plan on making a change."
Wild speculation: I wonder if good-guy Jack Ramsay's trial balloon on ESPN has intentionally scared a dithering Pat Riley back into his hole.
ANOTHER UPDATE: At ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski isn't buying Pat Riley's denial for a second.
Suddenly, coaching the Heat is a glamour job again, and Riley's ego would never let him sit that out. If Riley will want to insist this was a hard choice based purely on the best chance for a championship, or finding the best coach for the job, ancient NBA history backs him. It's just that modern history doesn't. Across the past two seasons, almost no one in the league has coached better than Stan Van Gundy. I'll give you Larry Brown, but no one else.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE (7/16/05): The Heat now say that Pat Riley's denial, above, through a spokesperson never happened. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson tells it this way.
Meanwhile, Heat spokesman Rob Wilson on Friday said The South Florida Sun-Sentinel inaccurately attributed the following statement to Riley: ''Stan is our head coach. We don't plan on making a change.'' Wilson said Riley never made that or any other statement in response to Ramsay's report. Wilson also said the team did not issue such a statement.
Sun-Sentinel deputy sports editor Brian White declined comment Friday.