At what point do the Heat have to make a move with their coach?
David Aldridge: How about we let Erik Spoelstra get to Christmas before we pronounce this experiment a failure? Good Lord, the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, 24-hour news-beast cycle is going to destroy this country. (Not to inject politics into this, but for example: it might take longer than 18 months to recover from a near-depression, so maybe this isn’t the time to buy a new Range Rover, you know?) The Heat has dropped two superstars into Spoelstra’s lap, with next to no effective role players, and said ‘win a title.’ Now, Erik’s a big boy and he knew the gig, but he also deserves some time to figure out a way to make this work. Like, the rest of the season, maybe?
Steve Aschburner: The summer of 2011 figures to be the time for a coaching change in Miami if things don’t sufficiently perk up this season. The roster isn’t good enough to win big right now, so a move by Pat Riley would waste its impact. But going 20 games or so into 2011-12 before pulling a “Stan Van Gundy” would bring on way too much negativity for a team far more ballyhooed than the 2005-06 Heat. I think Erik Spoelstra is a good enough coach to survive and thrive once he breaks some of his superstar’s bad habits. But if a change happens, whether it’s Riley or some other Star Replacement To Be Named, it would best come in the summer in tandem with plugging holes in the Heat’s rotation.
Art Garcia: Last Saturday. Let’s face it, LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh aren’t getting fired … even if they’re in the wrong. Erik Spoelstra doesn’t deserve this fate. By all accounts he’s a solid young coach who’s done a bang-up job for two seasons. But if your players don’t respect you or tune you out or don’t believe in your system, it doesn’t matter how the X’s & O’s get shuffled. There’s no shortage of Hall-of-Famers who turned on their coach; Magic, Jordan and Shaq come to mind. I suspect we’ll know before the All-Star break if Spoelstra-SuperFriends can work.
Fran Blinebury: They don’t and they won’t. Pat Riley isn’t stepping into this mess in the first year while the 3 Am-egos are getting things sorted out and the right supporting cast isn’t in place. And this team still has too much talent to completely crater. If they came close and staggered home with a .500 record, they’d still make the playoffs in the East and will go into the postseason with the so-called “puncher’s chance.” Relax. The season is five weeks old.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Only when they know they have a better alternative. Making a move just to make a move is too shortsighted. If Pat Riley doesn’t want the job or doesn’t feel up to it, if there is no one else on staff to handle the job for the rest of the season, if there is no available candidate you think is the long-term solution, management could be adding to the existing problems with a lateral move.
Shaun Powell: Pat Riley should have never put Erik Spoelstra in this position in the first place. The coaching change should’ve been made last summer. Might as well wait until next summer now, since a new coach — be it Riley or an interim — can’t also play point guard or center for the Heat.
John Schuhmann: Whenever Pat Riley finds the Fountain of Youth. The Heat have played 18 games together, so Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have 474 (regular-season) games left on their contracts. I don’t think Riley’s ready to commit to coaching 474 games, and I don’t think there’s a (relatively) young coach out there who’s better qualified to coach this team than Erik Spoelstra, who, by the way, Riley handpicked two years ago. Since then, he’s made Riley look pretty smart, winning 90 games with a temporary roster over the last two seasons. This is a different group that requires a different kind of leadership, but he’s certainly earned a lot more than 18 games to prove that he can provide it.
Sekou Smith: They don’t. The Heat’s issues only seem to arise when they lose a game. No one has a problem with Erik Spoelstra when they win. The problems in Miami start and stop with their superstars. Until they figure out how to co-exist, no coach is going to be able to fix what ails them.