When NBA teams have a good thing going, they usually try to make it last as long as possible. According to ESPN, the Miami Heat are close to a contract extension with Erik Spoelstra that will see him remain as their head coach for the next couple of years.
Under the original terms of his contract, Erik Spoelstra was only supposed to be the head coach of the Miami Heat for another season. However, executives in the NBA don’t like it when head coaches are in that situation because they fear that the effort is not going to be there.
Erik Spoelstra has earned his stripes with the Miami Heat. He was an assistant coach for the team for more than a decade. Spoelstra learned much while coaching underneath current team president Pat Riley. He worked his way up the ladder before eventually taking over for Riley as the new head coach.
The biggest thing that Erik Spoelstra can boast on his resume are the two NBA Championships that he guided the Miami Heat to. Though some will try to take credit away from him, it wasn’t an easy thing for Spoeltra to lead a team with three big stars in Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Even without LeBron James, the Miami Heat were able to win a good amount of games, thanks in large part to Erik Spoelstra. The franchise ended up winning 48 games last season, which enabled them to have home court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Erik Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured head coach in the NBA. No one has held the job longer in the Eastern Conference. He is only behind Gregg Popovich, who essentially can be the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs for as long as he wishes because he’s one of the best ever.
In trying to defend his fellow coaches in the NBA, Erik Spoelstra has stated that it is sad that he is second-long tenured head coach with just eight years under his belt. He feels that the position should have much more longevity.
If the Miami Heat were to fail to come up with a new contract for Erik Spoelstra, he should have plenty of interest around the NBA as a free agent head coach. His resume is pretty impressive, and he can easily be sold to most fan bases that want a big-name coach.
Aside from his resume, NBA executives have also noticed how well Erik Spoelstra deals with adversity. For two seasons in a row now, he’s had to make last-minute adjustments as Chris Bosh, one of his star players, has been forced to miss a good portion of the season due to health issues. ESPN reports that a blood clot forced Bosh to miss the playoffs.
Erik Spoelstra was able to help the Miami Heat continue to win games by changing up his lineup. He inserted Joe Johnson at small forward and moved Luol Deng to power forward. The small ball lineup worked out better than most had initially thought it would.
The presence of Erik Spoelstra should help the Miami Heat in free agency this summer. A lot of NBA players want to play for a guy that knows how to mesh egos together, both on the court and in the locker room.
Regardless of what happens with the Miami Heat, NBA fans can expect to see Erik Spoelstra roaming around the sidelines for years to come. He’s earned his role as a head coach, and he’s going to continue doing that job until he proves that he cannot.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]