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Pat Riley, Miami Heat extend Erik Spoelstra’s contract

Dec 16, 2011, 2:33 PM EDT

Miami Heat v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

It was one of the cloud of questions hanging over the Miami Heat last year: Does Pat Riley really trust Erik Spoelstra to coach the team, or does he have someone else in mind? (Maybe someone in a sharp suit with slicked-back hair.)

You can check that off the list.

Pat Riley said the Heat have given Spoelstra a contract extension, according to a tweet from Tom Haberstroh of ESPN. The deal adds two seasons beyond this one for a total of $6 million. Riley added the Heat have one of the great young coaches in the league, a guy on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

Conspiracy theorists will argue this doesn’t make a difference — you can sack Spoelstra just as easy now, the buyout is just a little larger. And this much is true — there is pressure on whoever coaches the Heat right now because they are contenders and should be winning rings in the next few years.

But Spoelstra is Riley’s guy. His protégée, not someone filling space until a real coach comes along. The players respect Spoelstra, they trust him. LeBron James trusts Spoelstra. Dwyane Wade trusts Spoelstra. He took them to the NBA finals. That bond is formed. A new coach would mean time needed to learn a new system and it would mean changes to how Riley likes things done. Spoelstra is more of an extension of Riley who does not threaten his power in the organization.

This is real. Spoelstra is not going anywhere, not for a while. But the pressure is on everyone in Miami to win.

  1. denverhoopdreams - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    About time. I may not be the biggest Heat fan, but this guy is working his ass off to try and keep egos in check. If him and the Heat can just go out and play some ball, and stop trying to prove something… they’ll be scary.

    • denverhoopdreams - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:35 PM

      oh, btw – just because people tend to hate everything Heat, I’ll give myself thumbs down for this!

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:08 PM

        I LOVE super teams. It makes the NBA intriging and fun as hell to watch. I’m a Laker fan and Last years offseason I was praying LeBron and Bosh go team up with D Wade. Doesn’t matter to me, as long as Kobes still laceing up purple and gold sneakers I feel I have nothing to worry about, I’ll always have a chance. I also LOVED how Melo was able to determine his future and start up another super team in N.Y.
        Now let’s see how many thumbs down I get for this.

      • tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        We’ll see how much you still love super teams when Kobe demands to be traded again. Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch Kobe playing with Howard………… for the Nets!

      • therealhtj - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        Hey if the Nets want to absorb Kobe’s 3yr/90mil contract, AND accept his 15% trade kicker, AND Kobe waives his no-trade clause to go there, then the Nets are welcome to have him.

      • tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        Without Kobe and the Lakers already missing out on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard the Lakers would be a disaster this season with no other superstars left on the market to buy. The Lakers would have to wait until next season to buy Chris Bosh after Miami finally gives up on that experiment gone bad.

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        HA! That will never happen. But if it ever did, so be it! I’d still love super teams. Always have always will. They don’t have to be my own, I just like the entertainment.

        And btw, the Lakers, even last year were no super team. A super team has to at the very least comprise of 2 superstar, franchise players. And according to you guys, Kobes literally on his last leg, Pau is the epitome of a second banana, Lamar has never known what an all-star jersey feels like on his skin, Ron-Ron’s best years were already 3 years behind him, and according to most of these haters, Bynum is an injury prone bum that hasn’t proved anything yet.

        And Kobe ain’t going anywhere. Keep on hating.

      • tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        You’re probably right about Kobe not going anywhere. His ego won’t let him play for a small market team and all the other big market teams plans don’t include him. So he’s stuck in Los Angeles. Kobe is being held hostage by his own ego!

      • progress2011 - Dec 17, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        AHAHAHAHA….That’s Funny !!! But very true.

  2. tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    It’s only going to get tougher for the Heat with new Super Teams being created in New York and Los Angeles. Looks like Spoelstra, Lebron and the Heat may have already missed their window.

    • denverhoopdreams - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      Very possible.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      Got news for you. It was tough last year, probably alot tougher.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      hahahaha yea ok.

      If last season proved anything it showed that there needs to be unity and chemistry. Not just talent.

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Can you believe the hubris of the Heat, extending their coach’s contract? Who the hell do they think they are? They gave Spoelstra, not one, not two, not three…..years. GOD, I hate them.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Said it before, I’ll say it again…this season is going to be awesome

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Said it before, I’ll say it again…this season is going to be awesome

  6. Chris Carter - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I love watching the Heat as a team, but I really can’t stand looking at Spoelstra’s smug mug week after week.

  7. mgscott - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Now the Heatles can win not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4..

  8. rodge1 - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Heat haters are too funny. Keep hating, your tears and anger only fuel Miami. Go Heat!

    • tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 6:10 PM

      Just apparently not in the 4th quarter

    • 973yenots - Dec 16, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      Thats the truth! why you think so many people overcome adversity? Haters, God Bless them!

  9. southbeachtalent - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Good move by the Heat, Spoelstra proved he can deal with a team of this magnitude.

    GO HEAT

  10. isujames - Dec 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    tampajoey you are a FOOL, kobe and leaving p jacksons side,they undercover b buddies

    • tampajoey - Dec 16, 2011 at 9:03 PM

      Phil Jackson retired and lives in Montana

  11. isujames - Dec 16, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Heat got it this year Wade is the coolest,smoothest player ever and Lebron know what he gotta do this year.If the lakers get d howard then it will be some competition for the heat.

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