Erik Spoelstra Rumors
Spoelstra moved to within one victory of Pat Riley’s Heat franchise record of 454 regular season wins with Miami’s pounding of the Grizzlies Monday in Memphis. Spoelstra, 47, was asked to speak about the imminent accomplishment, which could happen Wednesday when the Heat (13-13) return home to face Portland (13-13). He refused. After all, that would be making an assumption and getting ahead of ourselves. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” said Udonis Haslem, the only man on the Heat roster to play for both coaches. “There’s still a long season ahead of us. The plan this season wasn’t to come in and help Spo break Riles’ record. The plan was to get to the playoffs and see where we can go from there.
Riley, 72, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. Spoelstra has coached the Heat to two titles and four trips to the Finals, all in the Big Three era of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. He already holds the franchise record with 70 postseason wins. “It’s a hell of an accomplishment,” Haslem said. “I mean, you’re talking about Pat, a Hall of Fame guy. You get mentioned in that conversation or surpass him or break that record, it’s a tribute to Spo and how he’s grown and the work he’s put into it and the product the organization has put out there on the floor.”
But it was hard to really believe him. “We’re coaching for something bigger right now with our team, but certainly I still feel for Fiz and unfortunately what he had to go through here,” said Spoelstra of Fizdale, who spent eight years as an assistant under him. “I had lunch with him this afternoon. That’s my brother. “You want him to have a fair shot at it and to be able to go through some tough times, some adverse times, through a transition period that the organization was going through. And that’s what the thought was – that there would be a transition and an opportunity to build a different culture. Unfortunately he wasn’t given that opportunity.”
“Fiz is a star,” Spoelstra, 47, said. “So he’s going to get another opportunity in any field. He can go in this guy’s field [pointing to Heat TV sideline reporter Jason Jackson]. He can go in my field. He can choose where he wants to go. Hopefully he spends some time in Miami with us in the spring in-between his pina coladas and beach time and all that.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said there will be no extra motivation Monday night in trying to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, who fired his close friend and former assistant coach David Fizdale two weeks ago. But it was hard to really believe him. “We’re coaching for something bigger right now with our team, but certainly I still feel for Fiz and unfortunately what he had to go through here,” said Spoelstra of Fizdale, who spent eight years as an assistant under him. “I had lunch with him this afternoon. That’s my brother.”