It’s only speculation at this point to say that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is out at some point. It’s obvious, rampant, and only logical given the Stan Van Gundy precedent, yet still just speculation at this point. It sure as hell seems like Spoelstra isn’t going to survive the season, and that it’s only a matter of time before Pat Riley has Clemenza drive Spoelstra out into the country with some cannolis.
So instead of speculating whether Spoelstra is out, let’s figure out what his and/or the team’s excuse is going to be because there’s no way he gets just straight fired.
The Fredo Corleone
The dumb move. Spoelstra “steps away” to spend time with his family even though he’s totally been fired, then just takes another head coaching gig the next year somewhere. Pat Riley or some one else steps in and runs the Heat this year and next year. Everyone gapes at the fact that Pat Riley did this again, but figure it’s a better move anyway since the Heat suck. Also known as “The Stan Van Gundy.”
The Sonny Corleone
The Heat say “Screw everyone in the media, we’re sticking it out!” They let Spoelstra finish the season. The Heat end up the three seed in the East playoffs and lose to the Bulls or Celtics in the semis. They quietly fire Spoelstra during the NBA finals and hire some other coach whom LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will actually respect. This move makes more sense, but ends up giving all of the Big Three the rep for being coach killers, so they have a hell of a time finding a big enough name to coach.
The Michael Corleone
Riley and the other players work behind the scenes to make the situation untenable for Spoelstra while giving him votes of confidence to the media. The players run his schemes exactly as he draws them up just to prove they don’t work. Riley quietly lets the assistants take more of a leadership and gameplanning role, and the team slowly improves. The situation gets bad enough that Spoelstra resigns in April or right after the season’s over, meaning the Heat don’t have to pay him as much and can find some one else to run the team without giving anyone a coach-killing rep or making Pat Riley look like even more of a dick. They also immediately add pieces to the roster Spoelstra never had, but the next guys enjoys immensely.
Point is, there’s no way this ends well unless the Heat wins a title in spite of itself and Spoelstra gives the organization the old Bud Adams on the way out. I honestly feel bad for him. Every coach dreams about coaching a roster this talented, but I don’t think that he dreamed about those same guys being soft, un-clutch whiners. I’d want out anyway. Maybe he does too.