Last Friday was a crazy day for everyone in the NBA. When LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland, the free agency market officially opened for business. The Miami Heat were left scrambling after seeing the best player in the game leave town. Head coach Erik Spolestra detailed just how frightening the entire ordeal was.
Via Shandel Richardson of the Miami Sun Sentinel, Spolestra was disappointed to see LeBron go, but harbors no ill will towards him:
“He seemed at peace with the decision,” Spoelstra said. “We don’t have any regrets. He shouldn’t have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run.”
“This league does teach you that it’s inevitable that there’s constant change and you always have to continue to embrace change, adapt with change,” Spoelstra said. “This is a big, monumental change that we didn’t necessarily anticipate but you have to respect it because when you’re a free agent in this league you have the right to make a decision that’s best for you and your family. When he made that decision that was best for his family, where his heart is, all you can do from our side is respond with respect and love.”
The response is consistent with what other members of the Heat organization have said about LeBron’s decision. Dwyane Wade issued a statement earlier this week calling it the right decision. Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison have been very respectful of LeBron’s choice as well.
But the Heat only had so much time to get over losing LeBron. Right away, Miami had to deal with the potential of Chris Bosh leaving, and suddenly, they had a lot of cap room to spend. Spolestra was asked whether the Heat were in a state of panic:
“Probably, we were all in Pat’s office about five minutes just to collect ourselves and then from there it was madness,” Spoelstra said. “The board was right there. So we said we better get to work and we didn’t leave until after 1 in the morning.”
After Bosh decided to spurn Houston’s offer to return to the Heat on a max deal, things settled down some in Spolestra’s mind:
“We were talking to agents, trying to talk our guys, texting our guys and no one was getting back to us,” Spoelstra said. “There were two or three hours of a lot of uneasiness. We had no idea. From that point on, it just changed. It’s still the Miami Heat, still a great, proven organization, great opportunities and we started to get some calls back and the first one was CB. That one was obviously very important.”
Since Friday, the Heat have also signed Luol Deng and made Wade’s return official. While things might have looked awfully bleak for a few hours there on Friday, Miami has rebounded quite well. They’re not going to replace LeBron, but they won’t be bottoming out next season either. The Heat will field a competitive team, and we’ll see just how Spolestra adjusts to life without LeBron.
How many wins do the Heat get next year?
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