Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra have had a rocky relationship at times, and even though they've continually made up, something always seems to come up afterward that puts them at odds again—like Spo holding Wade out of the lineup for the entirety of the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns.
While it could be a point of contention between the two, it seemed more like Spoelstra sticking to the lineup that had fueled the big comeback rather than a slight to Wade and Bosh.
What's strange is that the relationship between the two didn't start out tumultuous. In fact, Wade was a Spoelstra guy as soon as Pat Riley stepped down.
Spoelstra has been a part of the Heat coaching staff since 1997, and had worked with Wade extensively as an assistant. He was one of Riley's most trusted guys, and when Spoelstra was hired, Wade gave him a full vote of confidence.
He may not have been singing and dancing around the court because of his new coach, but he was satisfied, and even happy with the decision. He was a familiar coach, and he had a good relationship with the guys on the team.
The troubles started to arise all the way back in 2010. The "superteam" had just been formed, and there was constant talk of Pat Riley returning to coach this monster collection of superstar basketball players.
The team was struggling a bit, as most new teams do, but the media attention was magnifying every loss, and every foul word said. Especially the words coming from Wade:
I'm not going to say he's my guy, but he's my coach, you know.
Well that doesn't sound very confident.
The team went on, the media kept the Spoelstra controversy in the news for as long as possible and then they went back to speculating if and when Riley would step in.
Talk waxed and waned about Spoelstra leaving, waxing as the Heat lost in the NBA Finals, waning as it seemed more and more likely that nothing was going to happen, and pretty much dissolving by the time the playoffs rolled around.
The games were so tough and trying on the team that Wade and Spo ended up getting into an argument on the sidelines during Game 3 of that series.
It wasn't even backlash that ensued, it was more of a collective gasp, like we were all waiting for Spo to snap, or Wade to come out and lay out his thoughts about the team.
Nothing happened. And then more nothing happened. And then the Heat won the title.
This season, the team has looked oddly different. They don't seem to be trying as hard, and they seem to not care at times. ESPN's Brian Windhorst talked about just that after Miami's loss to the Jazz.
Right now the Heat have some more prickly issues that go deeper than winning and losing. Not playing well in midseason is troubling, but not season-altering. The Heat are experiencing some internal issues, and it's showing up in their attitude and their play. And it's really showing up in the things they're saying publicly, which makes you wonder what they're saying privately.
This is not a crisis, but there are several signs of what Heat president Pat Riley likes to call "the disease of me," the challenge successful teams have when trying to keep up sacrifice.
What's going on in Miami? I can't say. All I know is they don't look right, they don't look like they're fitting together as well as they did last season and they don't seem to be connected to their coach like they've sworn they were for the entirety of their existence.
We probably won't hear anything about this in the coming weeks unless Miami continues to drop games, but once the playoffs start and they continue this behavior, things could go south pretty quickly.
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