Erik Spoelstra Hot Seat: 10 Candidates Who Could Replace The Miami Heat Coach
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The Miami Heat will be getting rid of Erik Spoelstra. It is no longer a matter of if, but when. This weekend demonstrated that emphatically. The LeBron bump. The ugly loss. The leaked rumors of unhappiness in the locker room. And the only thing worse than an owner's vote of confidence—the dreaded player's-only meeting. He's a dead man walking!
So now that we know it is only matter of time, the obvious question is: Who will replace Spoelstra? It is going to be hard to find someone who fits the bill considering the Heat players want someone they can respect, and most of those people already have jobs that they don't want to leave.
Here are 10 men who could do the job. Whether any of them want to is another question.
1. Pat Riley: Odds Of Getting The Job 3-2
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Why: The obvious choice. He's just upstairs. He has the rings. He's a Hall of Fame coach. Owner Micky Arison will make him go down and coach the team. They have no one else to turn to mid-season. More than likely, Riley will be on the bench sooner than later.
Why not: Word is he really doesn't want to coach anymore. He is the same GM that put together a team with no inside presence and no point guard. He will be remembered as a failure if they tank.
2. John Calipari: Odds 4-1
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Why: He has an NCAA championship ring. He is on the same team as LeBron, Bosh and Wade—the CAA/World Wide Wes team. He desperately wants back in the league. LeBron likes him.
Why not: He has a contract with Kentucky (OK, so that's not much of a factor for Coach Cal). He already failed in the NBA.
3. Jeff Van Gundy: Odds 10-1
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Why: He's a damn good coach. He's already worked with Riley. He won't take any crap. It makes a great storyline for when they play his brother and the Orlando Magic.
Why not: He's worked with Riles. He doesn't take any crap. He has a good job already.
4. Mike Brown: Odds 20-1
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Why: He has already worked with LeBron. You know he can steady the ship.
Why not: He's already worked with LeBron.
5. Jim Cleamons: Odds 25-1
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Why: Cleamons has been a head coach. He's worked with Michael and Kobe. He has rings. You can't get Phil Jackson. It would allow Riles to get over on the Zen Master.
Why not: Jerry Buss probably won't let it happen. Cleamons would rather wait and see if he gets the Lakers gig.
6. Brian Shaw: 25-1
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See number 5.
7. Larry Bird: Odds 50-1
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Why: He has the rings. He was actually a pretty good coach when he was on the bench with the Pacers. He can kick LeBron's butt even at his advanced age. He might want a new challenge.
Why not: He doesn't want to leave the Pacers and he didn't like coaching that much.
8. Bill Laimbeer: Odds 75-1
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Why: He wants to be a head coach in the NBA. He has the rings as a player and a coach. He's already used to working with women. He can kick LeBron's butt even at his advanced age.
Why not: There's a stigma attached to being an WNBA coach (sad but true). LeBron is already complaining he's not allowed to be himself.
9. Phil Jackson: Odds 1000-1
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Why: This is the guy they really want. Why not make a play for him? Offer him the moon. Phil likes to talk about "the challenge." Give him the ultimate one.
Why not: Riles hates the Zen Master. The Buss family would never let it happen, especially Jeannie. He's not insane.
10. Freddie Roach: Odds 1,000,000-1
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Why: He's the closest thing to Phil Jackson outside of basketball. He's used to handling tricky personalities like Mike Tyson and James Toney. And he knows how to handle superstars.
Why not: Roach is a lifelong Celtics fan who knows little about the game.