Miami Heat president Pat Riley was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for violating league anti-tampering rules for comments made last Friday about Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
In a radio interview, Riley thought a question about Dwyane Wade, a former Heat star guard who is now a part owner of the Utah Jazz, was instead about James, who helped spark the Lakers to last year's NBA crown, beating Miami in the NBA Finals.
James, who won the first two of his four career NBA titles in 2012 and 2013 while playing with Miami, and the Lakers were ousted in the first round of this year's NBA playoffs.
Riley, according to the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel newspapers, joked about leaving LeBron a key under the doormat if he should ever wish to return to the Heat.
"I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming," Riley said.
"I would do that. But I doubt very much that key is... that key is is rusted now.
"LeBron is, look, he's one of the greatest of all time. And for four years down here, if we want to go back and just remember what those four years were like -- four years in the Finals, four years of excitement, two world championships... it was the best time for the Heat.
"So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, then I'll put a new shiny key under the mat."
Riley, 76, even predicted his fate after his remarks about 36-year-old James, who is under contract with the Lakers for the next two seasons.
"This will just get me fined for tampering," he said in the radio interview.
© Agence France-Presse