Written by Anthony Chiang
Erik Spoelstra earned the respect of his peers from around the NBA a long time ago.
But in Spoelstra’s 11th season as the Heat’s head coach, some inside and around the league believe he still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
“I don’t think people appreciate this on Erik Spoelstra,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the latest episode of his podcast. “If you made Erik Spoelstra a free agent tomorrow, he would be a $10-million-a-year coach.”
To put that number into perspective, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reportedly makes in the $11 million range annually. Spoelstra, 47, signed a contract extension with the Heat in the summer of 2017, but the terms of the deal — including the length — were not disclosed.
“I had a team reach out to me in the middle of last season, saying: ‘Do you think the Heat would trade us Erik Spoelstra for our first-round pick?’” ESPN’s Zach Lowe added to the conversation regarding Spoelstra on Wojnarowski’s podcast. “And I said, no. I don’t think they would. I know they would not.”
Spoelstra entered Thursday’s game against the Washington Wizards with a 484-321 regular-season record and a 71-47 playoff record as Miami’s head coach. He passed Pat Riley to become the franchise’s all-time wins leader last season.