Heat President Pat Riley Says Erik Spoelstra Will Return as Coach

Riley sought to dispel rumors after Heat came up short against Dallas Mavericks.

Posted: 06/21/2011 09:47 PM EDT
Pat Riley, Miami Heat

With the colossal collapse in the NBA Finals still stinging, Miami Heat president Pat Riley took the unusual step of addressing the media Tuesday.

This was interesting for several reasons, not the least because of all the speculation of what the Heat might do to overcome the shortcomings that their Big Three couldn’t. The greatest speculation since Miami came up short against the Dallas Mavericks is that head coach Erik  Spoelstra would be fired after not delivering a plan that would have given LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh the NBA title in their first season.

Conventional wisdom had Riley stepping back into the coach’s seat to lead the team he put together last summer. Riley was quick to dispel that speculation. He said Spoelstra would return next season, according to ESPN.com.

"No, I'm not going to," Riley responded when asked if he would coach the team. "It doesn't mean that I don't have the fire. But we've got a great young coach here, and I want to support him. And hopefully, he can grow like I did. We'll bring Erik back, definitely."

That may not be the answer most in South Beach want to hear, but it’s the one that likely makes the most sense. Spoesltra got the Heat to within two games of winning The Finals and that is impressive considering it was essentially a first-year team.

Despite the collapse, the Heat will likely enter next season as the odds on favorites to win it all. That is certainly Riley’s hopes as he looks for the Big Three to be in the hunt for a while.

"I know what everybody expected here, but it didn't happen," Riley said of the team falling short of winning it all. "We are good enough. We have enough. We will do all the things we need to do to get better."

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

 

(Photo: AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

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