At 9-8, the Miami Heat are off to a very poor start this season. Even if we assumed the Heat would experience some growing pains trying to integrate superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, we figured they wouldn't be this bad. Last Saturday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks was the Heat's fourth in five games, with the lone win coming against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.
Naturally, people are starting to point fingers to figure out what's going wrong, and it starts with the heat coach. According to a report by ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Heat players are "frustrated" with coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Miami Heat's players are frustrated with Erik Spoelstra and some are questioning whether he is the right coach for their team, according to people close to the situation.
With the ballyhooed Heat losing four of their last five games and sporting a mediocre 9-8 record, the players are privately grumbling about Spoelstra on several fronts.
The problem with Spoelstra, according to Broussard's sources, is that the players believe he is being too hard on them. In particular, the players feel he is being too hard on the team's stars. Broussard notes one incident where Spoelstra called out James' demeanor in a recent shootaround, telling the superstar that he doesn't know when he is actually taking his craft seriously.
"He's jumping on them," one source said. "If anything, he's been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn't believe it. They feel like Spoelstra's not letting them be themselves."
It's not clear yet whether that eventually led to James' bump of Spoelstra as he left the court during a timeout last Saturday.
The players are also reportedly weary of Spolestra's simplistic offensive sets and feel like he is being nitpicky because he is worried about his job security. The former complaint is something we've discussed on SB Nation before.
If Spoelstra does get fired, it's not clear who would take over as Miami's coach. The obvious answer is team president Pat Riley, but he reportedly is not interested in coaching again, even though Broussard reports that he's been "critical" of the team's game-planning. In addition, Wade, the one superstar who has played for Riley, is reportedly not interested in playing for him again.