A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Mourning Will Play One More Season With Heat
Mourning, who made the announcement after his charity basketball game Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, said he did not want his career to end with the Heat’s first-round sweep by the Chicago Bulls.
”I was truly embarrassed by that outcome,” he said at a news conference Sunday night. “It left a sour taste. I just want to redeem myself and try to help this team redeem ourselves. It’s time to end it all on the right note.”
Mourning, 37, said his team must make ”an attitude adjustment,” including in its preparation. And Mourning said he will be vocal about that with teammates.
”I’m going to be cracking that whip,” Mourning said. “They’re going to hear my voice this year. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip away.”
Mourning — who averaged 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.31 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game last season — said he expects Pat Riley to return as coach but has received no assurance.
”It’s only fitting he comes back for my final year,” he said. “I’m going to throw that at him. He has to come back and be part of my last year. We started together, and hopefully we can end it together.”
Mourning, who will earn $2.75 million in 2007-08, said he is ”very certain” that next season, his 15th in the NBA, will be his final one.
”I made a promise to my wife,” he said.
STILL A CONTENDER
Before the game, he expressed faith that the Heat would remain a serious contender.
”As long as we have a healthy [Shaquille O'Neal] and a healthy [Dwyane Wade], you can put a decent group of guys around them and I think we’ll be all right,” he said.
Mourning also expressed disappointment about point guard Mo Williams’ decision to re-sign with Milwaukee, though he said he understood Williams taking an offer worth $20 million more than Miami’s.
”I thought we had a player in Mo Williams coming, but he pulled his commitment out at the last minute,” Mourning said.
Williams’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, denied that Williams backed out of a deal with the Heat, calling that “preposterous.”
Mourning expressed confidence the Heat will upgrade the roster.
”I know the Heat organization is trying to improve,” he said. “When we won the championship, we had Gary Payton and [Jason Williams] playing great basketball. We need point guards that are effective and making championship plays and continue to move the process of the team forward.”