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.