The Miami Heat would see through the mid 90’s and early 2000’s with ups and downs, division titles and frustrating seasons. The 90’s would put Miami on its toes and anticipating a change of location and it would also shuffle the Heat’s roster up in search of a championship win. They would see their fair share of ups and downs in through the franchises adolescent period, but would come out a better and more experienced team because of it.
In 1994 the Miami Heat were forced to begin looking for a change of location as Miami had been putting up resistance in providing a standard arena for the team to play and practice. Las Vegas, Memphis, San Diego and St. Louis were all looked at as possible new homes between 1994 and 1997. The Miami Heat were able to put some correct pieces together and were able to keep Miami as their home.
During the off-season of 1995 the Heat picked up former Lakers and Knicks coach, Pat Riley. Riley would shock the team and its fans when the night before the season was to begin; he announced that Glen Rice, Matt Geiger and several other players were traded to other teams. The Heat snagged Walt Williams, Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling. The shakeup would prove positive but the Heat would lose again in the playoffs against the Bulls.
The following seasons were fruitful for the Miami Heat as they would go on to become the Atlantic Division title winners, twice in a row. The following five years would be underwhelming. While they did have some noteworthy success like MVP candidates, exceptional was just not a word that would describe the Heat during this time.
The 2002 – 2003 season would prove to be the last of head coach Riley’s tenor with the Heat. After the team went on to a 25-57 win-loss record and a 7th place division finish, Pat Riley would step down and Alonzo Mourning’s absorbent contract would expire allowing the Heat some room to rebuild their lackluster team.
While the Miami Heat didn’t see a championship, they did cement their home in Miami and do some growing, title winning as well as several appearances in the semi-finals. No matter their outcome, the Miami Heat have proven that while they may not be number one in the NBA, they absolutely should not be discounted.