MIAMI - OCTOBER 12: Forward LeBron James #6 and head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat on the bench during a game against CSKA Moskow on October 12, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Will Miami Heat Fire Erik Spoelstra? Players Reportedly Frustrated By Head Coach

The Miami Heat are off to a disappointing 9-8 start, and players are reportedly beginning to point the finger at head coach Erik Spoelstra.

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LeBron James Comments On Erik Spoelstra's Status As Heat Coach

Dwyane Wade already shared his thoughts on Erik Spoelstra's precarious position as the Miami Heat head coach. It was an undeniably muted show of support. Now it's the turn for the next member of the Miami Thrice to issue his views on the situation.

And, predictably enough, LeBron James strikes a similarly unconvincing yet uncritical tone as D-Wade. Via ESPN's Brian Windhorst:

"If I have something to say to Coach Spo, I’m going to go to Coach Spo. If he has something to say to me...he’s going to come to me.

"As far as me and Spo being frustrated with each other, I don’t [think] it is. I have Coach Spo’s back...This is who we have."

Do you feel the confidence inspired by those steadfast displays of loyalty. I'm sure Spoelstra does.

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Dwyane Wade Speaks On Erik Spoelstra's Future With The Miami Heat

Around the same time Erik Spoelstra was putting out fires at today’s media session in Miami, Heat superstar Dwyane Wade was being asked the same questions. And while his answers weren’t exactly setting off alarms, there was no ringing endorsement coming from the face of the franchise.

As Ira Winderman reports for the Sun-Sentinel:

“Players and coaches, it’s always that kind of weird type of relationship. You don’t look at him and say, ‘That’s my guy right there,’ in the sense of me. Yeah, I came in when Spo was early in his coaching career. He wasn’t even on the bench when I first came in. He’s grown to know me; I’ve grown to know him.”

And now?

“He’s a different person and I’m a different player than when we came in,” Wade continued. “So, I’m not going to say he’s my guy, but he’s my coach, you know. We listen to him and try to execute a game plan and sometimes players and coaches get into disagreements. In general, that’s life with people. It’s the nature of sports.”

And just like that, the man who publicly lobbied on Spoelstra’s behalf just a few months ago is… Well, “I’m not going to say he’s my guy, but he’s my coach.” Make of that what you will.

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Spoelstra Speaks! On The Miami Heat's Struggles, LeBron's Bump, And Job Security

Erik Spoelstra's seat was warm before the season began, but after a month of play and a tepid start for the Miami Heat, the "hot seat" in South Beach is hotter than ever. But if the NBA's youngest coach is worried, he isn't letting on. At today's meeting with the press, Spoelstra addressed the swirl of speculation that's engulfed his team over the past few days. Via ESPN:

On the significance of Tuesday’s "bump" with LeBron James before a third quarter timeout in loss to Dallas
I didn’t even notice it until people mentioned it after the game. Often, coming out of the timeout, it’s a pinball game. I’m colliding into a lot of people. So it’s probably a perfect case of over-speculation from this team. I was fine with that timeout. The fact that guys are not happy about the play, tempers rose, you could see the fire and passion in people’s eyes. That’s the way it should be. None of us should be happy about what was going on in the third quarter and taking it in stride.

On whether there have been confrontations and voiced disagreements between the players and the coaching staff
That will happen everywhere. A coach-player relationship in this league often will be confrontational at times. And other times, it’s smooth sailing. But just the dynamic of the competitive nature of everybody, expectations, results -- all these things combine, yeah, sometimes it will get testy. And that’s good. Especially when people have a pure heart and mind about getting better, that just shows that the sides want to make it right. I’m going to demand. I’m going to push and prod. And a lot of times, players don’t know what is needed for a team to break through. The guys have been good about it. They understand they need to be coached, they need to be pushed, and that this is a process. We do need to do this together. But we need to get better.

There's plenty more over at ESPN, but as you can see, Spoelstra's not willing to acknowledge anything out of the ordinary in Miami. And really, were it another team, we probably wouldn't think too much of what's gone on. The reaction to LeBron's apparent "bump" would've made you think he headbutted Spoelstra.

But that's the problem; it's not just another team. Miami set the bar high for themselves, and if nothing else, their inflated vision and lofty predictions guaranteed they'd face this sort of scrutiny every step of the way. It comes with the territory.

And for Spoelstra, a man who did an admirable job coaching in obscurity with the Heat the past two years, this new territory might just mean the end of his run. But he's not worried about that, either.

"My job is to prepare this team and to get us ready for the games and continue to help us get better," he explained. "That keeps my days full and my nights." So there you have it: while the speculation swirls, he's going to keep doing his job. But how much longer will it be his job?

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Will Miami Heat Fire Erik Spoelstra? Players Reportedly Frustrated By Head Coach

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. 

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