How hot is Erik Spoelstra’s seat?

Feb. 20, 2010: Miami coach Erik Spoelstra during an NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated Miami 97-91.

First, we had Saturday’s possibly intentional bump, and now there’s a report that the Heat players are quietly grumbling about their head coach.

The Miami Heat’s players are frustrated with Erik Spoelstra and some are questioning whether he is the right coach for their team, according to people close to the situation.

In contrast to the popular view that Spoelstra has been hesitant to jump on superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, sources say the Heat coach has shown no fear in criticizing them.

Exhibit A was a recent shootaround in which Spoelstra told James that he had to get more serious. The source said Spoelstra called James out in front of the entire team, telling him, “I can’t tell when you’re serious.”

“He’s jumping on them,” one source said. “If anything, he’s been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn’t believe it. They feel like Spoelstra’s not letting them be themselves.”

He’s not letting them be themselves. That’s classic. So if a coach is irritated by the lack of seriousness of one of his players, he’s just supposed to let it go? I suspect that Spoelstra would be a lot more lenient if the Heat were meeting expectations, but when you have this much talent and are hovering one or two games above .500, it’s understandable that the HEAD FREAKING COACH might want a certain level of seriousness from one of his team’s leaders.

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