Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  92 responses

Who Has Erik Spoelstra’s Back in Miami?

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

When the story exploded yesterday that Miami Heat players were openly questioning head coach Erik Spoelstra, most people automatically assumed this was a somewhat awkward LeBron James power play.

While that may be true to some degree, Spoelstra’s problems don’t end with King James.

Dwyane Wade, the face of the franchise, didn’t exactly jump to his coach’s defense when the media came running to him for reaction with rumors swirling. If anything, it sounded as though Wade didn’t mind distancing himself from Spoelstra.

The Palm Beach Post
has the quotes:

(on the perception that Wade “signed off” on the Spoelstra promotion, because of their long relationship)

“Consulted on that? That’s a little overstatement. (laughter) In this league and in sports in general, you really don’t look at it and say a coach is your guy. A coach is a coach and he has to take hard stances at times—more times than not. Players and coaches, it’s always that kind of weird type of relationship. You don’t look at him and say, ‘That’s my guy right there,’ in the sense of me. Yeah, I came in when Spo was early in his coaching career. He wasn’t even on the bench when I first came in. he’s grown to know me; I’ve grown to know him. He’s a different person and I’m a different player than when we came in. So, I’m not going to say he’s my guy but he’s my coach, you know. We listen to him and try to execute a game plan and sometimes players and coaches get into disagreements. In general, that’s life with people. It’s the nature of sports.”


LeBron James and Erik Spoelstra had a pregame meeting last night, and both came out of it trying to sound positive. Spoelstra even went as far as to claim that these conflicts are a good thing. Whatever you say, coach!

Pat Riley has been curiously quiet during all of this. The entire basketball-watching world is waiting to find out which side of the Erik Spoelstra fence he’s going to stand on.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    He’d better stand on the Spoelstra side. FWIW, I think the league giving credit to LeBron everytime Miami wins isn’t helping the situation. You know he and Maverick are all over the positive press.

  • Justin

    If Riley is supporting his coach he needs to come out and say, under no certain terms, that this guy is our coach and the players need to listen. Otherwise, they need to make a change now. As for players saying “This is our guy”, it wouldn’t exactly be a first. No less a player than Michael Jordan said he wouldn’t be playing unless Phil was coming back to coach. I’d say he stuck to his guns, at least as far as playing for the Bulls went

  • Jahmai

    That’s pretty messed up Wade. I’m hearing all these stories about LeBron how he’s always behaved as a spoiled child and I’m kinda dissapointed in that. before the decision, everybody always spoke of LeBron like he was a great guy, but now, I really don’t know and this whole Miami team kinda sucks. I thought Miami was gonna be great to watch, but their no fun to me. At all.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    Why would he say Coach Spo is his guy? Maybe he WAS his guy, before LeBron got there. But Spo has treated LeBron like it was his team from day one. LeBron came in, and its Wade that’s had to adjust his game. When he decideds to play one of them and sit the other, Bron always gets more solo time on the court. Wade can front like its all about team all he wants, but a part of him is hating this situation right now.

  • Jahmai

    @ dfrance21, Spo has treated Lebron like it was his team from day one? Really? Every minute there is coming in another report that LeBron does’n't like coach Spoelstra at all. The Bump? Spo calling him out in front of the team? I think Wade’s poor play is getting to him, and he blames Spo for it.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    The majority of sports writers seem to be siding with Spo.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    Lebron’s a spoiled little brat who had everything his way the past 10 years of his life. That guy’s poison. Riley should trade him for Carmelo or something.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy


  • slamfan4life

    Riley will take the reigns soon, spo cant control this team

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I’ve been away from basketball for a bit, but what the hell is going on? If Spo’ goes, I am not convinced Riley is the answer. Someone said somewhere (I read too many blogs!) that Nate McMillan may be a candidate next year. That may not be a bad idea. Someone needs to be the a$$hole around this team, I think. I’d do a Quincy Jones and post a huge sign on the entrance to the locker room that says “CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR”.

  • vtrobot

    This is a toxic scene in MIA right now. Is the delay in firing Spo because Riles can’t decide if he’ll coach or if someone else will come in? As everyone has said, Spo has to be gone or else Riles would show some support. As overblown as it might have been, you can’t tell me that LBJ didn’t intentionally bump into Spo. Watch the video. After the bump, ‘Bron’s arm is still extending outward like he’s trying to hit Spo with some force. This coach lost this team long ago. Get him out of there ASAP. I never imagined this much anticipation for the 1st MIA/CLE game. Should be interesting.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    The fault is on everyone. EVERYONE. But they’ll figure it out. I have faith.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    Hey Miami, tell me who my ass taste?

  • jahmai

    This league is unbelievable, I mean almost everybody on this Heat team is new.
    And it’s not like they just added some new role players, they added the 2-time MVP
    another All-Star, new role players to play alongside their own superstar in Dwade.
    They are 10-8, Spoelstra is not afraid to confront his superstars, and he already needs to be fired?
    18 games people, seriously? At least give the man some time.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    But if someone needs to be sent out the door, then so be it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    The MAIN problem I have with Spo is that.. why can’t he make the Heat run ALL GAME LONG? Isn’t that what they said their offense will be from the start?

  • jahmai

    They’re prof. athletes, but I don’t think they can RUN all game long. LeBron was already complaining about his minutes, so if you thin for a second his gonna run his ass off all game, think again. And if the running game doesn’t work, guess he gets the blame, that’s right, coach Spo. If they lose, he needs to be fired. If they win, LeBron/Wade/Bosh is a hell of trio.

  • jahmai

    wow, I meant: he’s*, think*, who*, man I really need to check my comments before I post them. :P

  • The Philosopher


  • ktokyo

    I think D Wade is right. You can’t be best friends with your coach just like a reporter can’t be best friends with a player. It’s a professional relationship. No big deal with these comments.

  • T-Money

    Riley will not coach this team because the players don’t want him to. Especially D-Wade. He gave them every opportunity to request his services this summer and they all declined.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    So then what’s the solution to “fix this mess” T-Money?

  • Brian

    Spo should just sit there and let these guys do what they want and if/when it doesn’t work out he should man up and take all the blame.

  • All Day

    @ T-Money: Word! D-Wade doesn’t want Riles to coach
    the team because he knows Riles is a disciplinarian…
    he’s not going to put up their antics…Bosh wants to
    chill and LeBron wants to joke around…those cats don’t
    want Riles in their @sses!

  • http://www.twitter.com/chris_griff_3 Chris_Griff_3

    With RuPaul wanting to chill and Lebron wanting to have fun, it’s pretty obvious that Pat Riley is the last guy they want to lead them… but if they keep this up, he may just come down and give them what they deserve.

  • http://www.twitter.com/chris_griff_3 Chris_Griff_3

    I wonder if the Court Jester is vouching for Mike Brown to come on board.

  • The D Train

    I dunno maaain. They shoulda got Kobe…

  • The D Train

    I dunno maaain. They shoulda got Kobe…

  • http://yahoo.com Eboy

    Sounds Like Phil and Artest.

  • Jay Reyes

    they dont need a coach, they need a guidance counselor…

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Who Will Survive in America?! Who Will Survive in America?! Who Will Survive in America?!

  • Andy

    I was pretty amused the other day, reading some news, that Bosh wants to chill, LBJ wants to act like a kid…I don’t see any drive in them, any desire to win, to be the best. If these guys would have been on the same team as MJ, he would have already been booked for double homicide. Come on, you guys said you went to Miami to win. it now seems they went there because they wanted the perks of wining, without sweating as much.
    Spolestra either needs to be supported in his demanding ways. Or he needs to be let go, and a real tough coach brought in. What would these guys say to Riley, to coach Rivers, to Phil Jackson, and so on?
    I however think this experiment will fail..badly! These guys act as though they have the ultimate say…Meanwhile, Kobe and the Lakers are killing, and Boston with it’s Big Three Retirees is doing great as well. Any of those 2 teams would simply destry the Heat right now..
    One hint: IT’S NOT THE COACH!!!

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    Sounds like Lakers beef circa early 2000′s…minus the winning games part. Btw, IF Bron Bron gets his way who’s gonna want to be next to caoch these divas and get thrown under the bus when the ” bust 3″ won’t take direction? Heat fans should be concerned.

  • Crustified Dibbz

    Lebron is spoiled True BUT c’mon man the guys been tarin up the league over the last 10 years i don’t blame him. 99% of great players are or were d!x in a way. It’s just a mentality of a winner. All they need now is guidance & the discipline of a great one. Lets stop the BS cut to the chase , CMON PAT step in & make it happen.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    @crustfied: ” tearin up the leauge for the past 10 yrs” did I miss something, when did we just start counting high school? Lol. So if you can’t train em’ spoil em’ huh?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Pat Riley to me does not want to fail with this team as the coach right now. Maybe in year two. Because if they fail with him as the Lead DOG. ITS OVER like what Paul Williams tasted from a left hook he didn’t see. BOOK IT!!

  • C.B

    i still think its too early to judge the heat

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Is it Erik’s fault the players aren’t playing with consistent effort or execution?
    Depends on who you ask.
    I do know that when Magic Johnson got rid of his coach, he went on to win four more championships. That’s the bar.

  • Brian

    @ Crustifed: He’s got the mentality of a winner without winning. That seems to sum up the problems of the Heat perfectly.

  • sal

    the lakers aren’t killing anyone except bad teams, they only have one win against a good team.

  • Crustified Dibbz

    My bad. It sure feels like it :-) All i’m sayin’ is they need a better coach than SPO to win a title. he too weak amongst those cats. Seed: That’s the beauty of it It’s never over till Brian Crawford sings. :-)

  • thegfunk

    I honsetly cannot roll with the whole playing me too many minutes thing. Any gym, anywhere in the world if coach wants you on the floor for 40 you have to run for 40

  • unrel

    i think wade is saying the right thing.. ‘he’s not my guy.. he’s my coach’.. basically saying.. he’s my coach first.. ‘friend’ second.. he seems (to me) to be speaking in terms of team concept or work relationship.. rather than the idea of ‘wade being loyal just because they came into the league together’.. to me.. instead of pointing fingers.. the players.. especially the big 2.5.. need to come out and stand behind the coach.. or even just bron/wade.. stand behind the coach.. defend him and all that.. instead of starting a revolution amongst the players.. because right now.. there’s no one around that can coach that team.. period.. the heat have two things against them.. time and hype.. they should have been granted time to gel.. instead of the hype penciling them in as 10-11 champs.. they change the coach.. they’re back at square one learning a new system.. and who’s to say that’ll work.. plays are too simplistic?.. lebron didn’t complain about the plays that were called in clevland.. iso-iso-iso.. in this situation.. it sucks that coach spo is the scape goat.. all he has is what he has to work with.. which is two of the best players in the league.. that unfortuneately.. don’t play well together..

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    This NBA season has really rubbed me the wrong way especially how dissected the Heat are after every game. I was so bored with the games last nite I started to watch the 49ers and Cardinals and found it more entertaining than Miami/Washington. The Heat are no exciting to watch at all and that’s very disappointing to me.

  • T-Money

    Bryan Crawford: Running actual plays, instead of high screens. Which they did last night. Contrary to popular beliefs, Spoelstra was the one calling all the high screens and the isos.

  • 2k Champs

    Don’t blame Coach Spo’s simple ass offensive on LeBron and Maverick Carter. I haven’t seen anything put pick and roll in the half court. I’m not sayin they need to incorporate the triangle but u gotta come harder coach. Let’s look back at the Utah lose. When a team comes back from being down 22 you’ve been out coached. Some coaches (Monty Williams) will admit when they’ve been beat by their counterpart. Others (Erik Spo) will blame a “lack of intensity”.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @Jahmai Never said LeBron liked Spo, i’m talking about what takes place on the court, not off it. LeBron has been the go to guy. he ALWAYS has the ball and when they take Wade out, Spo lets Bron play solo for longer stretches than he does Wade. Those are the observations I’ve made from the 7-8 games I’ve watched.

  • whoooo!

    thinking about all this mess with superstars and coaches, it’s happened before countless times, and will continue to. but i’ll be damned if that doesn’t speak volumes about the level of Jerry Sloan and Greg Popovich, where everyone falls into line. all the players know those coaches aren’t gonna be leaving, and the franchise players support the coach to the end (everyone reports that Pop would be harder on Duncan than anyone else), so there’s no room for egos.

  • YokoDMV

    firing spoelstra will only expose the real problem…so go for it…CELEBRITY is the new black…its “not working” in Miami because the entire move was made for the wrong reasons…if anybody in miami was focused on WINNING you would not have even set foot on the court without a PG or true big man LOL step one to playing a team sport, assembling a damn team.

    Meanwhile, what would any publically known, millionare, tall, black male in his mid 20′s be doing in south florida all summer??? *allen iverson’s words of wisdom* PRACTICE???WERE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE??

    everyone can point fingers but firing Spoelstra will reveal the team’s lack of foundation, if that is not already apparent in their play

  • Crustified Dibbz

    Bron has to listen to GANGSTARR’s Discipline before every game. Guru spoke the truth.

  • Crustified Dibbz


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

    Cosign stephen jac…. I mean whooooo! And how bout them spurs? Best in the league! Im so tired of hearing and reading about miami, its just boring now. They will improve. Lets see how they look in feb.

  • JTaylor21

    J is on point when he said that this team needs to run all game long.
    They are professional athletes who have been working on their conditioning and
    stamina since the first day they picked up a basketball so it really shouldn’t be
    a prob. If old chaps like the phx suns can run all-game long why can’t young cats like wade,
    bron, and bosh do the same. Like CB34 has been saying since bron’s cavaliers days, you can’t
    have the best athelete in the L and be running half court PnR BS. They need a coach who knows and
    can take advantage of their strengths.

  • Fat Lever

    “That’s my teammate. That’s my quarterback. And if you guys do that, that’s really unfair”(sobbing). Ahahahaha.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    First thing I want to point out is that Wade doesn’t want Riley coaching him. None of them want 4 hour practices, so no matter if they do or don’t have a problem with Spoelstra, Riley isn’t the guy they want taking over. JVG is an interesting candidate to takeover mid-season, as well as Fratello. But IMO they should seek out Don Nelson, even if it is just as an assistant, as crazy as it sounds, he’s the only type of guy to have playoff success without any kind of interior presence.

  • matt

    the heat players lost their games, the coach was not playing. they will win their next few games but these past days just show how immature james is, always pointing to somebody else and not looking at himself on how he can lift the team to be better. it makes the jordan-pippen tandem vs james-wade comparison a no-brainer!

  • benno

    No one, because his back is white and probably has moles on it!


    The Miami Chill! Burr!

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    To answer the question: Chris Quinn

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    and maybe, just maybe John Crotty

  • http://www.twitter.com/chris_griff_3 Chris_Griff_3

    Trading Lebron is unlikely, though probably the best option. I think it’s more likely that he gets benched sooner than later, though.

  • http://www.twitter.com/chris_griff_3 Chris_Griff_3

    And we’ve seen this movie before. The guy playing Lebron’s role at the time went by the name of Allen Iverson. This won’t end well.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    yeah trading the best player in the NBA for the next decade is the right option. no

  • Cizzo

    When is it Bron fault or Wade fault? Disreguard C.Bosh He’s from the Naaboo Tribe from the movie Avatar, he’s a non factor anyway. With two Superstar that can allegedly carry a franchise on their own, forget whho’s team it is. If that was the case why did you guyawant to play together? when is the together part emphasized? E Spo get the Ax will that stop Bron and Wade from Hawking the ball? I’m glad that Bron has been brought back down to reality….. And yall can spare me with this eaerly season kinks they need to work out, I knew in August this team was going to be trash……

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @JTaylor21 You can’t compare them to the Suns tho. The Suns don’t run for dunks and lay ups, they run and jack threes because pretty much 1-5 can shoot from 3. The shooting is what makes their running game so effective. They don’t have 1 3 point shooter on their starting 5. teams would just run back, pack it in the paint and what Arroyo brick open shots, or Lebron and Wade pick up charge after charge. If you look at the 3rd quarter yesterday where Wade looked really good, he was shooting pull up jumpers. I think he needs to keep working on that and let Bron drive the paint.

  • Cizzo

    People, Quit saying that Bron is the best player in the league, one of the beeter athletes maybe? Pure BBall DNA not Bron……

  • doyouwantmore

    Lebrominique is about to be overshadowed by the second coming in Kevin Durant.

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

    That was dumb, doyou. Have u seen kevin this year? Looks more like russ’s team.

  • unrel

    riles should just march down to the practice court.. and yell at everyone.. coaches and players.. straight up say.. ‘spo.. get your ish together.. you have a year to secure your job’.. and then say.. ‘those making 100+ mil.. earn your check’.. then walk out..

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    nbk, don nelson coaching the heat would be the craziest thing ever. but ONLY if the players buy into the running madness. i’m not really convinced lebron and bosh are down to run n gun

  • PlanetAsia14

    Man, quit blaming Spo, and blame LeBron, he’s just being a terrible “leader,” enough said.

  • O

    i wouldn’t be surprised if The Knicks can D’antoni this summer, the Heat will pick him up on a 2 year contract. Things could get interesting…

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    About this team going uptempo..
    Sadly the starting 5 doesn’t fit uptempo style. Sure Bron n Wade are monsters on open court. But the other 3 kills it. That’s why Arroyo needs gone as a starter or in the whole team. He should be a vital running partner. But he kills it most of the time when he’s part of the break. Mainly because of his lack of offense specially shooting. He literally stops the fastbreak and waits for his teammates when he has the ball and the D gets back fast. The D lets him have space since he can’t shoot to help out on the coming Wade/Bron. As for Anthony, don’t mistake him as a pivotman who can run because he’s undersized.. he doesn’t run down the floor at all.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    As I said before in this era, a PUJIT is essential for the running game to succeed. You can’t have just rim finishers and say you can run. You need guys that will stretch the floor while running. Guys that will confuse the D if they will either make a pull-up or finish at the basket. That’s why even Bron and Wade should have an effective PUJIT. You can’t just put House to start because the bench would be thin. Lastly if they run, have ALL 5 GUYS running. Miami right now is just a fastbreak duo.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    I noticed in the game against Dallas.. Arroyo has been getting open looks on the wings. They’ve found him open many times, but he bricked all exept for 1 if I remember. I don’t know if that’s a designed play/ accidental/ the defense lays off him since he can’t shoot. Nonetheless imagine if a guy who CAN knock those down was in Arroyo’s place? I’m sorry for being critical with Carlos. I don’t hate him it’s just that nothing he brings to the table works as an advantage for the team. With 3 guys being best in iso’s, the other two should make themselves good in off-ball. That also applies to Bron and Wade.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    “I was saying boo-urns”

  • DaHolyKarron

    this is sooooooooooooooooo boring and old now come on mow

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    No disrespect to Spo but Riley would be perfect to coach this team. He’s dealt with superstar triumvirates before, let’s not forget….. Guy by the name of–what was his name? Byron Scott? Oh wait, Michael Cooper? Oh yeah, KURT RAMBIS?!

  • http://slamonline.com kobehater

    look if 18 games is the whole season then miami would suck they will still have 60 wins by end of season
    lebrons talent is better than anyone in the leage. he wasnt just wat he is without work. god is good, but didnt just give him all those skiils LBJ had to work 4 those. the spoied player is all those hyped players who havent done s*** 4 the leage or anything else kobe(the rapist)bryant. carmelo(overated)anthony, and gilbert arenas

  • http://www.youtube.com/TheBasketballJunkies Kenny Baxter

    BabyBron first Donrus card http://twitpic.com/3bm2nz

  • lockon

    lebron’s ego is contagious. damn. or either he doesnt know what he is doing, given the situation. they are giving the blaming spoelstra. damn. riley should back up spoelstra. players should listen to their coaches. this line up isnt just working. no consistent chemistry or whatsoever. spo is right on getting serious as well. this time last year, with only wade and a paper thin line up, they had a better record!

  • roebro

    cosign lockon

  • Gomez

    This scenario is the worst advertisement for the NBA I think i’ve ever seen … It’s ugly. Bron and Wade are exposed, caught out – shoulder slumping, quitting, pouting … WTF. Are you kiddin me? Two of the top four ‘leaders’ in the league … Their leading nothing. This is about character not ball anymore. Won’t work, won’t commit, won’t lead. Some people have compared these two to JORDAN at times, never, ever, again. They sold.

  • roebro

    cosign Gomez

  • Scottie Pimpin

    and this bum has the nerve to talk about the bulls loyalty. wade is wack, lebron is wack, mavrick carter is wack, and the heat are wack. their own fans dont even wanna watch them play. Noah was right, it got real hollywood down there. riding each others nuts like hos, i bet the heat dancers more heart and integrity thans these bums, who would have thought out of the three Bosh would come out looking good. they say he ruined his legacy, man he got no legacy. they make kayne west seem grounded and humble.

  • Jackie Moon

    The Lakers can’t beat any of the teams that have beaten the Heat! JTaylor21 is going to be the MAN tomorrow … ruh roh …

  • flipnoyce

    So Much HYPE with the Heat over the summer, now everything is on a boiling point from players to coaching. It’s always been a coaching problem with Bron whats new? I think,it really doesn’t matter who his coach is because he’s going to do what he feels like doing regardless. I believe that Riley doesn’t want to step on the coaching plate just yet because this team has yet to have their chemistry and identity put together, but when they do I wouldn’t be surprise. Coach SPO just keep your head up and be the MAN to these boys, let them know whose BOSS!!!

  • Jay Reyes

    there are players there that have a myriad of talent but is certainly uncoachable… i do find Lebron leaning towards that…

  • flash

    if only riley has got the guts to trade lebron for hardworking role players that would compliment wade, bosh’s game and the heat style of play. go back to the big and small combo u always had

  • Aristotle

    Atleast now we can see why Riley wanted to sign Derek Fisher. Miami need a floor general that will tell these 3 stars to shut up and start playing. They need a coach on the court. I’m a Miami fan since Eddie Jones days there, and I still want to see them do great. But I always believed David Lee would of been the better option compared to Bosh. Would of saved some money and could of maybe invested in a PG or a C. I’d love to see Nash come over on the vet’s salary…

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