The Miami Heat secretly inked Erik Spoelstra to a four-year extension in 2019. His contract runs through the 2024 season and the thought of him leaving South Beach anytime soon is unthinkable.
The organization, namely Heat president Pat Riley, loves him. Spoelstra isn’t going anywhere barring a complete meltdown, like failing to make the postseason or a personal decision to step away. That hasn’t stopped the 50-year-old from receiving looks for other jobs around the league.
According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Spoelstra’s name has surfaced on a short list of candidates to guide USA Basketball. Gregg Popovich recently completed his fifth and final year by leading the Americans to a gold medal in Tokyo. Now the exhaustive search of finding a suitable replacement has begun.
Spoelstra, a former video coordinator for Miami, would be an incredibly appealing choice due to his experience coaching Team USA’s Select Team this past summer. He was a key resource for Popovich in Las Vegas and helped get the Americans ready for the Tokyo Olympics.
Other coaches to watch include Doc Rivers, Tom Thibodeau, Monty Williams, Nate McMillan, Jeff Van Gundy. One other face to monitor is Jay Wright, the head coach at Villanova University who served on Popovich’s Olympic staff this year. Hall of Famer Grant Hill will make the final decision as the new managing director for USA Basketball.
“Someone who understands and has a healthy respect for the international game,” Hill said when asked what he’s looking for. “The dynamics are a bit different in that environment than they are in the NBA regular season. You’re going to be dealing with some tough love of players, and being able to mentor them. That’ll check the boxes, if you will.”
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Six Hundred Wins and Counting
The fact that Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA speaks volumes. He looks the same as he did when he first took the reins in 2009. Tasked with coaching the “Big Three” and managing the huge expectations associated with that squad, it hasn’t always been easy for Spoelstra. Yet he’s still standing.
He has 607 career victories in 13 NBA seasons after recording his milestone 600th win last season, making him the 27th head coach in league history to win 600 games. Spoelstra earned it on April 29 over Popovich’s Spurs.
“It is humbling,” Spoelstra said, via The Associated Press. “Obviously, I always think about Pat [Riley] and Micky [Arison] for having this incredible opportunity to be able to coach with this franchise. I feel a great responsibility to do it the right way for something they started and created.”
Heat G League Team Hires New Head Coach
The Heat named Kasib Powell head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League squad. He becomes the 21st coach in Sioux Falls’ 32-season history after first joining the Skyforce as an assistant coach in 2016.
“I’m so excited for Kasib to get this opportunity,” Skyforce president Mike Heineman said in a statement. “He has been such a giant figure throughout the history of the Skyforce as a league MVP player, an assistant coach and now as our head coach. I am proud that he will be the person leading our team this season.”