Erik Spoelstra: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Playing a Game of Sabotage?
“I’m not going to say he’s ‘my guy,’ but he’s my coach."
Normally, when players are asked about a teammate or a coach, that respective player will say whatever he can in support of that person. They'll give you the line that you'd expect to hear from any other player in any other sport.
Unfortunately, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade decided he was going to go in another direction. In an article from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the columnist quoted Wade when he was asked about his head coach, Erik Spoelstra.
Just when the media in the room thought Wade would say what every other athlete normally says in this situation, they got the exact opposite and it opened a lot of eyes. It may have made others wonder, "what did he just say?"
Since the beginning of the season, there have been rumors about the "Big Three" being unhappy about having Spoelstra as their head coach instead of Pat Riley. But, every time Riley is asked about coming back down from the front office to the bench, Riley continues to say he's not going to do that.
Well, apparently that hasn't been good enough for the two big stars of the Miami Heat. They seem to want to do everything possible to make sure people know how unhappy they are with their head coach.
Whether they think people care or not—or will do something about it—they want to say it anyway.
As I went back and read some of the things that have been written about this situation, I came across this gem from Yahoo Sports' Kelly Dwyer. In her piece, it seems that ESPN's Chris Broussard talked to "sources" who told him about the players being unhappy.
Though, as Dwyer, as well as CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel, humorously point out, most of us know who Broussard is referring to when he says "sources."
Since LeBron James made his decision to "take his talents to South Beach," he's been the focus of anger. Not only from Cleveland fans, but he's also been the topic of sarcastic or very pointed articles from just about every writer out there.
When he came to Miami, apparently he believed that the Miami Heat organization was going to bow to his every demand. Including who the head coach was going to be.
Though there wasn't much talk about it over the first few games, it only took James bumping into his head coach during a timeout against the Dallas Mavericks to set off a media and public firestorm.
Rumors that were only slightly interesting became hot and heavy. Every news network wanted to know what was going on.
And if Spoelstra was going to be fired.
But the head coach is still there. He's still the man in charge, and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon—no matter what James, and apparently Dwyane Wade, want.
Don't get me wrong: I know LeBron is going to say and do what he wants. I expect as much.
But I didn't expect Wade to get behind him with another version of, "yeah, what he said." It's like little brother agreeing with big brother and his friends don't stuff him in the high school locker at lunch.
Just when you think that another head coach is going to go out the door, it seems that Spoelstra is going to stand his ground and not give an inch to the newest member of the drama queen club.
The Cleveland Cavaliers fired fifth-year head coach Mike Brown amid rumors that LeBron James wanted him gone. Apparently, the general manager at the time, Danny Ferry, believed that the move was required if they wanted to keep the young star in the city that used to be known for the song "Cleveland Rocks" and the Drew Carey Show.
Well, Ferry found out that firing Brown turned out to be a move that didn't do a bit of good in the long run.
Now, it's Spoelstra in the cross-hairs of his superstar. He's the guy that is being hunted by the ultimate hunter.
But he's the guy that's going to stand up to James and dare him to make the first move.
No matter what James—or Wade—might say, the Miami Heat head coach has continued to take the high road. Knowing that the first negative word that comes out of his mouth will cost him his job.
It's not that he doesn't already feel a little bit of pressure from Pat Riley who's staring down at him from the front-office box at American Airlines Arena.
He knows what two of his players want. He knows that it might just be a matter of time before they get it.
Especially if the Heat don't star winning. Soon.
As of right now, he's still the man in charge and he's acting like it. I, for one, hope he continues to do whatever he's been doing.
Although it hasn't led to that many wins thus far, it is only 18 games into the season, right?
This is a guy that deserves more than what LeBron is trying to do. He deserves more than to have his job be put on a silver platter and put up for grabs by any and all who want it.
I've never been one to criticize coaches for the team's performance on the field. Unless it's a pattern that continues for a number of years, than I start becoming curious.
As for the Miami Heat, I'm putting the blame squarely on the three players who should be able to win games—no matter who the coach is. I'm putting the blame squarely on three guys who are putting up more shots per game than the rest of the team combined.
It's time to stop blaming the head coach for the problems of stars who don't want to play as hard for a guy they don't want on the bench. But, as we've all seen in just about every sport, organizations do what their superstars want.
Well, most of them anyway.
Stay strong, Erik. You'll never be the villain, no matter how bad LeBron—and Maverick Carter—want to make you look.
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