Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Heat’s “Godfather” shreds amid Kendrick Nunn Trade, who is scratching his head

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Much to the chagrin of some fans, the Miami Heat still has work to do as the NBA’s February 9 trade deadline approaches. Like most league GMs, team president Pat Riley seems to be weighing his options rather than jumping into a deal that could hit him back.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in the league. In fact, one of Riley’s former teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, just struck a deal with a former heat guard.

As confirmed by announcements by both teams on Monday, the Lakers have sent Kendrick Nunn and a trio of second-round picks to the Washington Wizards in exchange for big man Rui Hachimura.

And while the trade appears to have little to do with current South Beach goings-on, the fact that it happened at all — coupled with Nunn’s involvement — was enough to send some under Heat Nation into a frenzy immediately afterwards.

Social media reaction to the Nunn-Hachimura trade was swift and downright unkind from fans who have struggled with Miami’s uneven season so far. Riley’s name was even trending on Twitter thanks to comments like this:

Pat Riley is a scam.”

“Uhhh, can someone wake up Pat Riley…Hachimura could have been a good fit next to Bam with that size and gunplay.”

“Pat Riley #WashedKing.”

“I WANT HIM ON THE HEAT. FVCKKKING PAT RILEY WHO DID NOT EVEN MAKE AN OFFER.”

Others, meanwhile, were dismayed to see Nunn and some second-rounders traded for a talented former lottery winner after Riley actively pushed him out the door (by withdrawing his qualifying offer) with no return of any kind to make room for an aging Kyler to create Lowry .

It’s a mindset perhaps best represented by this tweet:

It’s clear all is not well in the Sunshine State, and considering how close the Heat came to returning to the Finals last season, expect some bad fan vibes. However, not everyone wanted to dip into Riley after completing the trade. Scores of Heat fans also turned out to defend the Hall of Famers.

Regardless of what happens to the Heat this season, Riley’s place is as one of the greatest executives in league history at least as sure as his incredible coaching legacy is. The architect of The Heat has secured three championships, six finals and hundreds of wins through manoeuvres, big and small, over the years.

Not everyone has forgotten these things, as evidenced by the following Twitter comment:

“Pat Riley in his sleep is still a better GM than 20 Rob Pelinkas. Let’s not twist it.”

“Pat Riley is trending because a lot of stupid fans saw Rui Hachimura traded to the Lakers. Do you respect the godfather towards Rui Hachimura? He wouldn’t move the needle for the heat to argue. Quit being stupid Twitter GMs. That’s not 2K.”

The answer here roughly sums it up:

“Pat Riley is trending because a lot of stupid fans saw Rui Hachimura traded to the Lakers. Do you respect the godfather towards Rui Hachimura? He wouldn’t move the needle for the heat to argue. Quit being stupid Twitter GMs. That’s not 2K.”

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