Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Monday, September 29, 2008
Heat GM Pfund resigns after 13 years; president Riley assumes duties

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Miami Heat general manager Randy Pfund, who helped Miami win the 2006 NBA championship as the highlight of his 13 years with the franchise, resigned Monday.

Pfund said Monday night that it was "the perfect time to pursue other opportunities within the NBA," without offering specifics.

Team president Pat Riley -- who already had final say on virtually all personnel moves -- will assume at least some of Pfund's duties, which included overseeing draft preparation, scouting, salary cap management and player personnel decisions.

"Randy Pfund has done a tremendous job for the Heat, helping to build this team into a champion," Riley said in a statement. "His work ethic and contributions to the organization have been invaluable. I've known Randy for over 20 years and in addition to our great working relationship he has been a wonderful friend."

With Riley stepping down as head coach after last season and settling into a full-time front office role, it wasn't clear how much room Pfund still had in the Heat decision-making process.

A team spokesman said Pfund's decision was not related to the recent promotion of Nick Arison, the son of Heat owner Micky Arison and a minority partner in the franchise, to vice president of basketball operations. Nick Arison will serve largely in an administrative capacity -- not necessarily relating to personnel, the team said.

But with that move, combined with Riley's hiring of longtime friend Ed Maull years ago to assist him on the operations side, the Heat front office clearly had an abundance of voices.

In a statement, Pfund thanked Micky Arison, Riley and their wives "for the opportunity to work for the Heat."

"It's been an incredible ride," Pfund said. "Additionally, I want to thank Pat for all his support and friendship over these last 20-something years."

Pfund, who stayed largely out of the public eye during his tenure in Miami, perhaps made his biggest mark on the franchise during preparations for the 2003 draft.

The Heat had the No. 5 pick that year and were in glaring need of frontcourt help, prompting speculation that the team would target either Chris Bosh or Chris Kaman. But Pfund insisted that Miami take Marquette guard Dwyane Wade, and Riley eventually agreed that Wade would be the pick.

Wade led the Heat to a championship three years later.

Riley credited Pfund again this summer, when the Heat had the No. 2 overall selection and chose Michael Beasley, even though there was a sense that Miami would have preferred not to take the Kansas State forward.

Pfund, Riley said, was one of three people who "got me in a room and made sure that Mr. Beasley was going to be part of the Miami Heat."

It wasn't clear how much time Pfund had remaining on his contract. He received an extension from the team last year, but the terms were never publicly disclosed.

Pfund began coaching at a high school in Illinois in the mid-1970s, then went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he worked for Chet Kammerer, who currently serves as the Heat's vice president of player personnel. Eventually, Pfund was hired as an assistant coach on Riley's staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, and after Riley left the West coast, Pfund took over as head coach for parts of two seasons in the early 1990s.

When Riley came to the Heat, he hired Pfund again. Pfund, in turn, then brought Kammerer -- who was also a Lakers assistant under Pfund -- to the Heat as a scout, and the foundation for the team's front office and personnel moves remained largely unchanged since.

"On behalf of the Arison family and my family, I would like to wish him continued success and happiness in everything he does," Riley said.