Talk to other NBA coaches about who impresses them as a coach in the league and Erik Spoelstra’s name comes up early and often. It’s not that he’s won a couple of rings, it’s getting the most out of the players he has, turning around the careers of “reclamation project” guys by putting them in good positions with smart schemes, and having a team that always works hard and is difficult to play against.
Pat Riley and Heat ownership know what they’ve got, and they have reached terms on a four-year contract extension for Spoelstra, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Spoelstra, who would have been entering the final season of his deal, quietly negotiated a new contract that allows him to continue as the league’s second-longest-tenured active coach with one team, trailing only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel confirmed the news.
Spoelstra has a 523-363 (.590) career regular-season record, which includes eight playoff appearances and a couple of titles.
Spoelstra will coach an interesting Heat team this season, one that missed the playoffs last season with 39 wins, but added Jimmy Butler and have everyone healthy. Miami also has a couple of tradable players on expiring contracts and will be in the mix if and when some big names become available via trade. The Heat need a big season out of Bam Adebayo (he’s the starting center now) as well as Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and others. Miami looks like a playoff team again, and you know with Spoelstra coaching them the Heat will be a tough out in the postseason.