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Heat organization, Spoelstra in particular standing up to LeBron

Nov 30, 2010, 8:47 AM EDT


We mentioned something that seemed quite clear in our post about Heat players being unhappy with Erik Spoelstra — that leak had to come from either LeBron James camp or CAA, the agency that represents all of the Heat’s big three. Just people trying to protect their players by shifting blame to the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo confirms that in his latest anti-James screed, saying it was James’ right hand man Maverick Carter who planted the story. The reason was to distract from the build up of LeBron returning to Cleveland on Thursday.

You can believe everything Wojnarowski writes or not, that’s up to you, but it’s clear the James/Spoelstra relationship is not going swimmingly. James has said he’s not having fun and asked for other changes in how he is used. You don’t have two long sit-down meetings with your coach when everything is going well. And from the Heat’s 10-8 record, it’s clear things are not going well.

What’s different for James is the Heat are standing up to him as an organization in a way Cleveland did not. Spoelstra is on the front lines of this — telling James he can’t miss a team flight to stay an extra night in New Orleans, telling him he has to play point guard at times whether he wants to or not. Spoelstra is the one fighting the fight but you can bet he has the backing of Pat Riley and Micky Arison.

Brian Windhorst, who covered James in Cleveland and now is doing the same in Miami for ESPN, writes that standing up to James like this is key, something the franchise did not (and in some ways could not) do in Cleveland. Something the Cavs paid a price for.

Now is when the (Heat) organization — be it president Pat Riley himself or Spoelstra in one of their series of meetings or perhaps both — need to tell James that they won’t completely accommodate him. Spoelstra will remain the coach and the team is going to stay the course. That means James, whether he likes it or not, will to continue to be asked to sacrifice parts of his game.

It may be hard in the short term but this course of action will make a difference over the long haul. The evidence resides in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent history.

Windhorst’s point is that James has basically gotten his way wherever he has gone. Nobody wanted to offend, everybody wanted James on their side, everybody wanted to make him happy. If the Heat do that, they will pay, both on the court and in stability of the organization. Windhorst sees this as the James testing the organization and they can’t buckle or change.

The Heat likely won’t buckle. But until the team on the court gets on a little winning streak and beats some quality opponents, these tests and these questions will remain.

  1. downtowndanny - Nov 30, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    sounds like mamas new boyfriend is gonna turn Lil Bron Bron into a man after all, no more breaking curfew, no more running up the phone bill. “get your ass in there and take out the garbage!” ” Lebron, you got an F on your attitude test, no Call Of Duty (Special Ops) until your grades improve!”
    Lebron: you can’t tell me what to do, only my friends can, they”re my friends

    Coach Spo: I don’t give a god dam who your friends are, and that little juvenile delinquent Maverick is banned from this house!

    Lebron: ooooooh I hate you I hate you I hate you, I want my mommy!

    Coach Spo: Mommy your little ass over there and gimme 100 suicides

    Pat Riley: get Denver on the phone!

  2. hashfest - Nov 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Note to D’Ugly, LeStupid and Chrissy Irrelevant–when the coach says “jump” you say “how high?”

    You are employees who get paid a lot. You have a boss.


  3. downtowndanny - Nov 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    trade his ass to Denver! the only person who would hate Miami is Mr.s Melo ( Miami has been known to destroy a few marriages, i.e Shaq) I bet Melo wouldn’t mind his new digs and Coach Karl would be getting a “superstar”, its a win win

  4. d57fan - Nov 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    God for Spoelstra and the Heat. If the Raptors had not pandered to Bosh and actually made him play some defence like he’s doing in Miami, he may not have been the only one of the “super-duper” stars to come from a losing team.
    Now, if he can contribute without being forcefed his points without sulking, they might be able to continue beating bottom feeding teams…

  5. dsims7 - Nov 30, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Everyone called this a disaster back this summer. Funny now.

  6. electstat - Nov 30, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    He shouldn’t be testing anyone. It’s Wade’s team.

  7. silencegooddoer - Nov 30, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    A meeting with Riley, Coach, and LeBron would be great! Maybe ESPN could broadcast it in an hour long segment called “The Intervention!” Think about it!

    • dsims7 - Nov 30, 2010 at 1:13 PM

      silencegoodoer, I just spit coffee on my laptop! That was good. Maybe they can invite his homeboys from the hood?

  8. silencegooddoer - Nov 30, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    The Heat are 2 losses away from failing thier first goal to top the Bulls record low season losses of 10! How rediculous does the stage-show hype by the “New Big 3” following the decision seem now? Will LeBron will have to take away one of the multiple championships he promised too by the end of the season? I am starting to think he does not always speak the truth. What should I do???

  9. goforthanddie - Nov 30, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    LePunk becomes less likable daily.

  10. killallthelawyers - Nov 30, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    My goodness, a coach with cojones and apparently, an owner who allows the coach to have cojones! How utterly refreshing! Too bad Cleveland did do this with LeBron. Hey, LBJ…welcome to the real world! You really aren’t the king of anything.

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