Blog Entry

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:03 pm
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson takes some shots at the Miami Heat and the future of coach Erik Spoelstra. Posted by Ben Golliver  phil-jackson

Say this for Los Angeles Lakers legendary coach Phil Jackson: if he ever decided to leave the bench, he would be an incredible blogger. Jackson has always known which buttons to push and when to push them, and the morning after a surprising, embarrassing double-digit Miami Heat home loss to the Indiana Pacers, Jackson took to the radio airwaves in Chicago to needle the Heat and embattled coach Erik Spoelstra. transcribes some of Jackson's comments. First, he opines on Miami's 8-6 record, far short of expectations, is the result of the team "coming together with some real talented guys, and not having a base."  Jackson then went on to speculate that Miami's summer signings -- LeBron James and Chris Bosh -- may call on Heat president Pat Riley, a former championship NBA coach, to take over the reins from Erik Spoelstra, a talented but young Riley coaching disciple. 
"The scenario that sits kind of behind the scene, is that eventually these guys that were recruited -- Bosh and James -- by Pat Riley and Mickey Arrison, the owner, are going to come in and say, 'We feel you [Riley] can do a better job coaching the team. We came here on the hopes that this would work,' and whatever, I don't know," Jackson said. "That's kind of my take on it, is that eventually if things don't straighten out here soon, it could be the Van Gundy thing all over again."
Back in 2005-2006, of course, Riley pulled a similar stunt, taking over for coach Stan Van Gundy roughly a quarter of the way through a season that ended with an NBA title. From the moment James and Bosh joined Dwyane Wade, the whispers that Spoelstra was a dead man walking began. As with all of his public comments about competitors, this shot is a public mental test for Riley, Spoelstra, James and company. It will be very interesting to see how they respond, and whether anyone takes the bait.

Since: Jan 31, 2009
Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:47 pm

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

Right Rowdy-so every time Phil has an opinion about a team he's headed there next year? Believe me, I've heard rumours about where Phil's going every off-season, and so far in his coaching career he's changed teams a whopping total time.

Maybe don't knee-jerk react to what Phil says, this is typical of him to just speak his mind.

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:46 pm

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

I agree, but I really don't see where Jackson said anything that was controversial. One year ago the Miami Heat were 9-5 through 14 games. Through 14 games this year they are 8-6. With a legend like Riley sitting in the front office why wouldn't there be speculation about the head coach's job security? It's almost as though Phil would be disrespecting Pat Riley if he didn't assume that a takeover was imminent.

Jackson has 11 championship rings. He's been in the league forever. He's an old guy. Frankly, he can say whatever he wants about an unproven young gun in Spoelstra. If there really is a fire and a passion for the job then Spoelstra will prove himself not with words towards Jackson, but with results on the court. The people making excuses right now are the same people who said that the Heat would win 70 games a year and the next 7 NBA championships. No more excuses,  just produce. It's not too late to turn things around.

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:38 pm

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

Ever since Jackson was fortunate enough to coach Michael Jordan...all time great basketball player...he's been wanting to coach the "great ones of their generation" since. 

He came to L. A. and has coached Shaq and Kobe and now Kobe.  Kobe is in the twilight of his career while LeBron is entering his prime. 

This just wasn't a "shot across the bow".  There's a deeper message here Phil is sending to Miami and it's this.  "When my Lakers win #3 this year, I'm available to come to Miami and show you guys how it's done." 

Phil in Miami, next year, bank on it.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:14 pm

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

You have just got to love Phil Jackson's ability to stir up trouble in the media. First he deflected attention away from the lakers by saying the Heat could win 72 games, now he's "calling" for a coaching change which just adds addition pressure on the Heat. While I doubt Riley comes out from behind the desk, the uncertainty is still a source of stress for Spo that can't be denied. Oh yea that whole issue that they can't defend or rebound in the paint might also be cause for concern.

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