Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 at 1:35 pm  |  94 responses

Erik Spoelstra, Stan Van Gundy Respond to Phil Jackson

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The NBA Playoffs are many, many months away, but for Phil Jackson, it’s never too early to start throwing verbal darts at foes.

Jackson weighed in on the dicey situation currently developing in Miami yesterday, and the world predictably went crazy.

Today, Erik Spoelstra and Stan Van Gundy had a chance to respond, and both offered commentary on Phil’s observations.

Spoelstra smartly deflected the questions with well-placed humor, and SVG ranted (as he is wont to do.)

From HoopsWorld and the Palm Beach Post:

“My coaching staff was giving me some grief about it,” Spoelstra said. “They got a good chuckle out of it.” Did he? “Yeah,” Spoelstra said. “Come on. Everybody has had something to say about us. I can’t expect that I would be excluded from that. I’m sure some people are probably saying some stuff about me out there, other than him … First of all, I’m single, OK, so I don’t think I’ll be taking a leave from my team to spend time with my family.”

Van Gundy hadn’t heard the comments prior to speaking with reporters but after being told what was said, he shook his head and laughed. “Well first of all, obviously Phil has no idea what the ‘Van Gundy situation’ was. Even though he coaches in our league, he certainly had no inside knowledge of that so any analogy he would make to my situation would be totally useless because he doesn’t have any clue what the situation was in that case,” Van Gundy said.

“First of all, to second guess another coach and to comment on a situation he knew nothing about is inappropriate and it’s also ignorant. I don’t mean that commenting on Phil’s intelligence; he’s obviously a very smart guy. I mean that as ignorant because he doesn’t know what that situation was and he doesn’t know what the situation in Miami is now. I don’t think, unless their relationship has changed drastically, that he and Pat talk on a regular basis so I doubt he would have any information whatsoever on what’s going on in Miami,” Van Gundy said. Van Gundy was not only frustrated with Jackson, but also with the media for bringing up a situation that hasn’t been relevant for years and for making assumptions about what happened in Miami.

Why do I get the feeling that Phil will be bumping a certain Jay-Z track when he reads about this today, with a big smile plastered on his face?

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  • Sparker

    first of all, he said “first of all” twice

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Mutoni is such a Lakers homer.
    But, if I had to pick song I would have gone with “99 Problems.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/clearheatvision Raj

    The Zen Master fiddles with the puppets yet again…muahhahahahahah


    Jackson listen to Jay z. Sensitive thugs, y’all need hugs. WOOW…I never say never, but Phil with Jay z line. Incredible.

  • Drew

    That’s the exact reaction Phil was hoping to get from one those coaches. Van Gundy bit.

  • Jackie Moon

    Run tell THAT, homeboy!

  • hillbilly

    @Sparker “first of all, he said “first of all” twice.” That’s CBS (Charles Barkley Syndrome) in full effect.

  • LA Huey

    The Van Gundy bros may say silly things sometimes but I admire them for always sticking up for others in the coaching fraternity

  • SWIFTboy

    Spoelstra is smart, he used this whole situation to announce that he’s an eligible bachelor.

  • All Day

    Big Chief Triangle has struck again…this is exactly the reaction Phil envisioned when he made those comments about Spo and SVG…Phil knew the media would eat that ish up and start asking Spo and SVG questions about his comments…a classic Phil Jackson strategy!

  • T-Money

    No matter what would have been SVG ans Spo’s reactions (from no comment to outrage), Lakers fans would be saying “the zen master strikes again”. IMO, this has absolutely no incidence on the outcome of games, its just Phil Jax being a prick because he can. Wondering out loud whether one of your colleague is on the hot seat is never classy.

  • All Day

    @ Sparker and hillbilly: The CBS syndrome is a mofo…it’s painful to listen to the Chuckster at times because he wears the hell out of “first of all!”


    Do old white people even listen to rap?lool…the zen master is always entertaining on what he does beside the 11 rings.

  • Cheech

    Co-sign swiftboy.
    How suave!

  • bails1

    Hide yo coach hide yo ex coach cuz Phil Jackson be hating everyone.

  • JTaylor21

    PJax is nothing but a pompous a** who fools people with all that zen crap when it’s really Tex Winter and the players that made those 11 chips possible. Phil better be getting on his knees at night to thank the man upstairs for kobe/shaq/gasol/pip/horry/fisher/kerr/paxson/grant/mj

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    Phil Jackson = The NBA version of Jerry Springer. Just start sh*t, walk away, and then let others tear each other apart.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    Phil’s the type of guy that would tell his girl “you’re not going to wear that are you?” and give her a complex the rest of the night about what she has on.

  • kobesBESTfriend

    kobe/shaq/gasol/pip/horry/fisher/kerr/paxson/grant/mj better be on their knees thanking the man upstairs 4 the Zen Master 4 all their rings

  • james

    @jtaylor21 wow that has to be the dumbest comment I’ve read on Slamonline…ever. Mind you I’ve been on Slamonline daily since the 10th grade and I’m now a senior in college

  • TIP

    What’s with all these “zen master strikes again posts”? There’s no overreaction from either respondents so y’all need to calm down.

  • YokoDMV

    “SINGLE” = CODE FOR CLOSET BISEXUAL…we got both eyes on you Spoelstra #FIRETHECOACH

  • YokoDMV

    @Diesel – ha to Springer! Phil Jackson = NBA version of old white guy in a suit who thinks he knows more than everyone.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    So if he was bisexual that’s grounds for being fired? Really son?

  • http://Badnewzb8ller Badnewzballer

    Jtaylor is lame! Go drink some whammy juice.

  • onlyclipsfanonslam

    I am pretty sure some reporter asked a very specific question about the Heat coaching situation. Jax just gave an honest answer. Does he know what really happened, probably not. But, I am sure this is not a case of Phil going out of his way to insult SVG or Spo

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    JTaylor doesnt realize that by his logic, “players produce and coaches do nothing”, Spolestra shouldnt be fired. Its the players fault and they should be traded. Anyone on the market for a used Wade? Bron? Anyone?

  • Hammer

    Co-sign diesel. Song that best describes phil is D-12:”I’m an instegata,I’m an instegata”

  • All Day

    @ TIP: The purpose was not to get an overreaction, the purpose was to get SVG and Spo to respond and they did. SVG did not overreact, but he was clearly annoyed about what Phil said and about the media asking him about what Phil said. All you Phil Jackson haters should know this by now!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Stop it Stan. Everyone knows what your situation was. You got run outta town. You were quite bitter about it, remember?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Actually, it’s far more likely that a reporter asked a vague question about the situation fishing for some throwaway material for a short story and Jackson shocked him with a his long diatribe that produced national news. That’s usually how it works.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    In JTaylor’s defense, he credited Tex Winter’s triangle for the team’s success. So, he acknowledges the role of coaching, just not the role of coaching as it is practiced by Phil Jackson. Personally, I disagree, I think Phil understands how to motivate, how to gameplan and how to adjust during games, which are the three true jobs of any great coach. But, that doesn’t make him some sort of genius who melded players into stars.

  • ShadiestBen

    Allenp – That is definitely not how it works, when are reporters not looking for an angle?
    I’ll agree with you it wouldn’t take much to push Phil into a snide remark, but your comment makes it seem like Phil decided that whatever the question he was going to throw Spo under the bus, which is impossible to prove.

  • ShadiestBen

    The only time Jtaylor will ever credit Kobe for anything is when he’s using it to discredit Phil Jackson.

  • ShadiestBen

    The only time Jtaylor will credit Kobe with anything is when he’s using it to discredit Phil Jackson.

  • YokoDMV

    @AllenP – that he should be fired and that he is bisexual are both true statements IMO, one statement was not supposed to provide a reason/cause for the other…i have a bunch of comments on slam with #FIRETHECOACH…because well, he should be fired, the best players in the world can’t “gel”…PJ could get them to zen chant lol…I smell poor coaching.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    I disagree to some extent Allen, The Lakers teams the years before Phil got to LA were STUPID talent wise. Like the year eddie/kobe/shaq/vanexel went to the allstar game; and were eliminated by the Jazz.

  • JTaylor21

    That’s what I’m trying to say. People especially laker fans like to act like dude is some kind of spiritual being with a mind that would make Einstein jealous, when in reality he’s nothing but a great motivator and leader that knows what button to push and how different players respond to constructive criticsm. Remember that Jax became the bulls coach in 89 and didn’t win squat until Pip began to evolve into an all-around beast. Jax was great at making in-game adjustments like when he put Pip on Magic to slow him down a bit but not enough credit is given to Tex Winter and his triangle offense which put the players in a position to succeed. Without Tex Winter’s triangle and players like MJ/Shaq/Kobe, PJax would be somewhere in Dakota, fly fishing.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    @JTaylor – remember yesterday when I tried to make sense of one of your arguments and I said I should have just ignored you or made fun of you like everyone else on this site? Threads like these were what I was talking about. As for your comment – motivating and managing your players is just as, if not more important than the X’s and O’s in the NBA.

  • T-Money

    Whether Stan got run outta town is irrelevant. Whether Miami is about to fire Spo is irrelevant. Phil Jax still acted like a d-bag by speaking on another coach and colleague potentially losing his job.

  • Loaf

    Co sing Allenp i assumed straight away he was referncing 99 problems, such a better fit!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    The corn filled dunes in my shorts are chunky

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Well I hope you dont expect anyone to sympathize with the Heat. Of course Spo did nothing to deserve this, but for years Miami has created a culture where the ends justify the means, no matter who gets shafted in the process. The past summer only added to this perception. So yeah, he might lose his job, but he wouldnt be the first. And no one came to Phils defense all these years when his colleagues all but said he wasnt that great of a coach and didnt even deserve his job or accolades. Either play the game or get played.

  • larrylegend

    Stan the man! love him!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    It was only gamesmanship. Hes stirring the pot and adding to the sense of turmoil/panic. If they cant ignore it and keeps their focus on the matter at hand, then hes already won. Its tactics like that, in addition to his ability to manage players/games that have helped him win 11 rings. Because as Spo can attest, it takes a lot more than talent to win.

  • youngmuggsy

    Jackson is way overrated as a coach. JR Smith could have coached the 90s Bulls to championships.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    As a reporter, whose actually listened to them ask questions in the locker room (Thanks Slam!) I can tell you that most of the time they don’t ask pointed question of coaches. They ask random vague questions like: “So what do you think about what’s happening down in Miami, shocking right? How do you think Riley is going to handle it?”
    They were probably shocked when Phil went off, but that’s why they ask those questions because you never know when a coach or player will say something that you can make into a story. It’s a long season and beat reporters have to write a LOT of stories.

  • JTaylor21

    What PJax said has nothing to do with gamemanship but everything to do with being a jerk and thinking that he has a free pass to say whatever comes out of his a** because people label him the “zen master”. Also he’s also saying this because he wants to remind everyone and pat riley especially of what he did to Stan and doesn’t want Riley back coaching the heat again. @Diesel, I gave PJax props already on his motivational techinques and in-game adjusments but I feel like he gets TOO much credit and Tex winter gets NO credit. The reason why the heat are off to a bad-start this season has everything to do with lack of play-calling, do you think that the lakers or past bull squads would’ve won all those chips if they ran the same BS PnR and iso-offense that bron-cavs and the heat currently run?

  • TIP

    lol @ me being a hater for not subscribing to the whole “zen master” theory.

    So a coach says something about other coaches and said coaches respond=”zen master strikes again”? Ok.

  • vtrobot

    2nd what T-Money and JTaylor are saying. i know that coaches are important, but I would say their impact is often highly overrated. There have been so many times when great coaches haven’t done SH*T with bad teams. also the guy who got TRASHED all over these boards for years “led” his CLE team to the best record once (twice?) i’m sure that spo isn’t helping, but those MIA players need to get their sh*t together. phil will always continue to show a lack of class.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    ^ What a load of horse$hit.


    Phil Jackson is the GOAT at playing mind games.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Lmfao@ myles making up stuff to make it look like other coaches have hated on phil. ‘ colleagues all but said he wasnt that great of a coach and didnt even deserve his job or accolades.’ WTF YOU TALKN BOUT MYLES?!!?!?. ‘all but said’ means they didnt say, so can you read coaches minds? No coach has had a bad thing to say about phil as far as I can remember. With the exception being svg style remarks about phils trash talking. But that has nothing to do with anyone saying hes not a great coach and doesnt deserve his job. It must be fun for myles to just make up shtt like that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Yeah, “Big Chief Triangle” and endless other snide remarks from JVG and Riley over the past decade were all figments of my imagination. Just because you havent heard of it, that doesnt mean Im making it up. So next time you feel like talking before thinking, dont. Put the computer down and go read a f*cking book.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Somebody called him “Big Chief Triangle”? That is freaking hilarious! Who said that?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Ah, it was Jeff. I knew it was him deep in my heart. Jeff Van Gundy is a funny dude.

  • T-Money

    Myles, this is not gamesmanship. He didn’t say Spo sucked at his job, he speculated on Spo not having a job very soon. Credit to Spo for taking the high road, but that’s a d-bag move! Since when do fellow coaches get involved in that? I’ve never heard that before. I would have said the exact same thing regardless of who would have said it. There are no mind games here, this will not influence the outcome of any game, he was just being an -ss because Phil is an -ss from time to time. And before you come back, yes, Stan is also an -ss from time to time.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Coaches never get into each others’ biz. Watch and ex/future coach doing a game on TV and they tear into the players and never say anything about the coaches. Tony Dungy wouldn’t say anything bad about Wade Phillips or Childress. They are a fraternity as they always say. SO, when one of them does this it’s shocking.
    IRONICALLY, this is from the coach who always had the best talent and could sit back, going after the guy with what could be the best talent. He is a twisted Zen genius.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Myles. Jvg giving phil a funny and fitting nickname is not saying hes not a great coach and doesnt deserve his job. youre making stuff up, stop it. Its unprofessional and looks bad on slam. put the computer down? Youre on slam just like me, so that was a dumb thing for you to say. Im finishing reading krishnamurtis ‘the awakening of intelligence’. Whats the last book you read? Wheres waldo doesnt count.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Let me know when your intelligence wakes up.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Myles all but said hes a cross dressing nazi who like to club baby seals, punt puppies, and blow up new born kittens with c4.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Lebron all but said he wishes hed signed with the nets. Kobe all but said he was guilty of that colorado thing. Nash all but said he knows he didnt deserve those mvps. Lang all but said he is actually indeed black.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    No coach has ever said, or insinuated that phils not a great coach and didnt deserve his job or accolades. Quite the opposite actually, every coach will, and has, say phils is one of the best ever, some say best ever. And hes earned evrything hes won. Every coach in the league will say something very similar. There is no need to make stuff up to make it seem like phil has been slighted by other coaches, it just makes you look dumb. Just like telling me to get off the computer. Im sure you spend 10x the time I do on a computer. Just stop it myles.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Sometimes, these threads are a clear-cut example of when free speech goes terribly wrong… And why kids shouldn’t be allowed to use computers without adult supervision.

  • roman

    funny thing is they know what Phil is saying is true. Days are numbered for Spoelstra. Team is too much for him.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    What PJax did WAS gamesmanship. Those of you calling him a d-bag or an a-hole are the same ones who have identified themselves as LBJ groupies and Miami Heat bandwagon riders. There is a ton of pressure on this team — from the players to the coach — and so far, they’ve proven that they can’t handle it. Basketball is a mental game, and if you can get into someone’s head and get some kind of reaction out of them, then you’ve already beaten them. PJax is just adding on to the pressure that the Heat already feel because he knows what any “knowledgeable” basketball person knows about this team and that’s mentally, they can’t handle what they’ve assembled. Bron/Wade/Bosh aren’t wired for hate. They want everyone to like them. To love them. To cheer for them. They care about what people think about them evidenced by making themselves accessible via Twitter. They get hateful messages from people and then either retweet it for the world to see to try and rally support, and then they tweet some kind of philosophical gibberish about “haters.” These dudes are mentally fragile, anybody can see that. Additionally, the Heat as an organization put a ton of pressure on themselves by throwing that celebration this summer. The players put a lot of pressure on themselves at said celebration by predicting multiple titles (LeBron), and saying it would be easy on the floor (LeBron). I’ve said before that top to bottom, everybody in the Heat organization thought this was going to be an easy run. They clearly thought teams were going to roll over and had no inkling that people would not be “afraid” of them. They made this bed and now they have to lie in it. Like David Aldridge said: nobody is going to feel sorry for the Heat. I kind of got off track but back to Phil, he knows all of this. All he’s doing is adding on to the pressure that they already feel. And why should he care about taking shots at two guys who’ve won 11 less titles combined than he has? Especially when this is his last ride anyway. He’s flexing his muscle because he knows those guys can’t possibly say anything back. It’s smart, and he could care less about what people think or say about him. He’s made. The most decorated coach in the modern era. So if you can’t see that, and if you continue to take shots at Phil and not acknowledge the obvious, then it’s clear that you’re an apologist, a PJax hater, and you don’t know a whole lot about “gamesmanship” or basketball in my opinion.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    DB-move by Phil, no question.
    Gotta luv Sam Rubenstein commenting here, his comments are like a bigfoot sighting, “wait, was that really…. did i just see…. naaah….”

  • SpamsLots

    Dudes. Are you f’ing SERIOUS?

    1) Phil is right. Recent history has shown that, in general, if a coach isn’t perceived to be doing well enough given his roster (even considering injuries sometimes), that coach is fired.

    I can’t count how many coaches in the last 10 years were fired, sometimes in very classless ways, because their teams were under-performing.

    Phil’s just being realistic.

    2) SVG and Spoelstra are just doing PR spin. It’s all they can do.

    3) Phil is the greatest NBA coach of all time. All multi-championship coaches were gifted with great players, but not all coaches gifted with great players won multiple championships.

    Phil’s perfect playoff record when his team wins game 1 is unreal. He never had a losing record in the NBA as a coach EVER, not even in the years Jordan was playing baseball, or before Jerry Buss managed to steal Pau when the Lakers actually had a so-so roster. He has NEVER been out of the playoffs. He has the best playoff winning percentage of all time.

    And part of being a coach is letting your staff do their jobs. That’s what assistant coaches are for. Doc Rivers had Tom Thibodeau, for example, for defense.

    Tex came up with Phil’s system, but that’s it. And quite frankly, ‘systems’ and x’s and o’s are over-rated in the NBA. Fundamentally, there really only a handful of plays and the rest are all minor variations – it’s far more important to be able to manage player and team confidence, morale and effort. Nobody does that better than Phil.

    The only coach that has close to as many wins was Red, and he had less teams to play against, at least as great a concentration of talent as Phil ever had, and also had the strong arm of being GM for the team.

    You can’t even say that Phil always got ready-made championship teams. A number of young players that were so-so improved greatly while under Phil.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    T-Money ” what Phil said was too mean to be gamesmenship” So I guess gamesmanship is supposed to be nice all the sudden? Like when Phil called out KG for being dirty before the finals? Or his treatment of the refs every playoffs? Nope Phils just a Jerk, no gamesmenship there…ok player.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    The 18lb mass of dook in my depends has begun to leak. Who wants turkey?

  • ShadiestBen

    AllenP as you have firsthand experience i’ll take your word, just turned on Heat – Magic and what are they talking about? Phil Jackson lol.

  • hobbes

    JTaylor u need to stfu

  • Joe King

    jackson isnt some puppet master or anything..just a good coach who talks a lot of shxt. Like getting this reaction proves anything…

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Truth Hurts!!

  • Blackphantom

    yet again, JTaylor proves he is one of the few people that comment on this site that are usually wrong about almost everything they say

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Well, Spoelstra’s probably sweating a bit more after tonight.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com B-more Mike

    Lebron was A$$ 2night!! He looks like game 5 all over again. B_tch!

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @B-more: He wasn’t that bad.
    Did you watch Wade? Sure he’s more likeable than Bron, but he’s also sucking it up real hard.

  • JTaylor21

    Will the real DWade stand up?

  • Jackie Moon

    Explain to me again how Lebron or DWade is better than Kobe? I … don’t… get it.

  • LD

    @Jackie- I think it may be because they were not accused of the sex crime. Fans have their objective reasons.

  • Jackie Moon

    @LD The sex crime accusations totally explain how Lebron or Wade is better. I get it now.

  • JTaylor21

    The only thing kobe is better than those guys is luring young hotel maids into rooms and giving them a taste of that black mamba laker flunkies love so much. That’s the only time he attacks the “hole” aggressively.

  • Jackie Moon

    @JTaylor – yup, that’s what I thought… Miami Heap of Basura!

  • james

    JTaylor21 your attempt at being funny with your last comment failed miserably. Lol you might wanna take a break from the comments section bro its obvious that our basketball IQ is a little on the low side

  • james


  • http://yahoo.com Eboy

    day by day Jtaylor says the stupiedest things you gave Kobe commplement you should have said the maid was a guy.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    ^Tough typo, james.

  • http://safjdklf.com Jukai

    I’m beginning to see why people say Kobe is a better player. Sure, athleticism, IQ, even a lot of skill, I’d give it all to Lebron… but f it all, Kobe would NOT play four games straight of watching his team lose with an uncaring expression on his face. He would not stand at the three point line doing nothing as his team continues to lose possessions. Damn.

  • Justin

    Why does JTaylor say anything at all? What he should do is think about what he’s going to say and then type the exact opposite. Then MAYBE he will say something that is correct or relevant. Bryan Crawford summed the whole thing up beautifully. Well said

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Phil, thou art a genius

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    myles sure stfu didnt he?

  • The Philosopher

    Phil is the G.O.A.T.
    He can say whatever he wants.

  • The Philosopher

    & Bryan Crawford is on fire for two days straight…