Miami Heat Players Growing Tired of Erik Spoelstra?
You likely read about and saw the silly hubbub from BumpGate over the weekend, and today ESPN reports that things are growing significantly worse for Erik Spoelstra: “The Miami Heat’s players are frustrated with Erik Spoelstra and some are questioning whether he is the right coach for their team, according to people close to the situation. With the ballyhooed Heat losing four of their last five games and sporting a mediocre 9-8 record, the players are privately grumbling about Spoelstra on several fronts. Sources say the players believe he is not letting them be themselves, that they are questioning his offensive strategies, and that they think he is panicking because he fears losing his job … In contrast to the popular view that Spoelstra has been hesitant to jump on superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, sources say the Heat coach has shown no fear in criticizing them. Exhibit A was a recent shootaround in which Spoelstra told James that he had to get more serious. The source said Spoelstra called James out in front of the entire team, telling him, ‘I can’t tell when you’re serious.’ ‘He’s jumping on them,’ one source said. ‘If anything, he’s been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn’t believe it. They feel like Spoelstra’s not letting them be themselves.’ It is not known whether the players voiced their concerns about Spoelstra during their players-only meeting following Saturday’s loss at Dallas. Nor is it apparent whether the bump between James and Spoelstra during a timeout in that game was accidental or a result of tension between the two. Regardless, the players also believe Spoelstra’s offensive strategies have been too simplistic, according to the sources. They feel like he is running nothing but pick-and-rolls and telling the Heat’s secondary players to find open spots on the floor for catch-and-shoot jumpers. The sources said the players also think the constant speculation about Spoelstra’s job security is getting to the third-year coach and that he has resorted to nitpicking over minor details because of it.”