MIAMI (AP) — Erik Spoelstra has been with the Miami Heat for nearly two decades, and the team is hoping they remain together for years to come.
Spoelstra and the two-time defending NBA champion Heat are “basically done” on a contract extension, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday morning.
The team never had any intention of letting Spoelstra go, the person said, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. Yahoo Sports first reported that the Heat and Spoelstra were nearing an extension.
“I want Spo here for a long, long time,” Heat President Pat Riley said last season.
Spoelstra is 260-134 in his first five seasons with Miami, going to the playoffs in each of those years, the NBA Finals in each of the last three and winning the title in 2012 and 2013. His resume suggests that he’s already well on a Hall of Fame path: Only 12 other men in NBA history multiple championships as a coach, and only seven others have collected rings in back-to-back years.
He’s won while helping LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh not only figure out ways to play with one another, but having each of those stars change their game to make everything fit within the Heat system.
Last season may have been Spoelstra’s best coaching job.
The Heat rolled through the regular season, winning 27 straight games at one point on the way to a 66-16 record. Then in the playoffs, Miami had to rally from a 1-0 second-round deficit against Chicago and ultimately had to grind out seven-game victories over Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals and San Antonio in the NBA Finals.
“What’s overlooked for him is the management of the team,” Wade told AP last season. “It’s not the coaching part of it. It’s, ‘Can you manage these egos, these personalities, without having one your damn self?’ He’s done it.”
The news of Spoelstra’s extension comes one day after the team made a number of other moves, including the promotion of Heat original employee Andy Elisburg to general manager and a slight reshuffling of Spoelstra’s staff. Juwan Howard and Dan Craig will be new assistants for Spoelstra this season, which starts with the team’s annual media day Monday and then the first two training-camp practices in the Bahamas on Tuesday.
Hired as a video coordinator by the Heat in 1995, Spoelstra’s rise through the ranks has been well-chronicled.
He was a scout, an assistant coach, a key part of Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Miami and then started becoming considered Riley’s protege not long after Van Gundy stepped down 21 games into what became a championship season for the Heat in 2005-06.
Riley retired for good in 2008, and the Heat didn’t wait long before making Spoelstra the head coach. He inherited a 15-win team and improved it by 28 games in his first year. The Heat went back to the playoffs in 2010, then found a way to keep Wade while landing James, Bosh and a slew of other players the following summer on their way to making three straight trips to the NBA Finals.