Soooo many different ways to take what has gone on with the Miami Heat over the last couple of days, from the most overplayed shoulder bump in sports history, to the players-only meeting that followed the Mavericks game, to the ESPN.com story written Monday about LeBron supposedly not getting along with Erik Spoelstra and essentially wanting him out, to the comments from Dwyane Wade on Monday morning that Spoelstra isn't necessarily "his guy," but "our coach."
Well, there was an attempt at clarification before Monday's game against the Wizards, but depending on how you want to interpret it, it might not be any clearer than it was yesterday or the day before.
Spoelstra, who in the morning wouldn't confirm there was any sort of "conflict" between him and LeBron, said before the game that he considers this type of thing a "healthy conflict." Whether that has to do with LeBron supposedly being unhappy that Spo called him out for not being serious enough during a recent shootaround, or if it's simply an acknowledgement that everything isn't running smoothly right now, it's still the head coach recognizing that something is wrong. That's a positive thing because he's not running and hiding, nor is he delusional and pretending everything is OK.
He said he met with LeBron this afternoon to discuss, among other things, how to get him going offensively. He said it was a productive meeting. And it would seem it is the best possible move to diffuse some of this insanity that's swirling around the team. When you meet face to face and hash out your issues, all the rest of the noise becomes just that, noise. Smart move from Spo, but it all depends on what kind of person LeBron is whether it works out or not.
So, on to LeBron. For starters, he said he didn't even realize he bumped into his head coach during the Mavs game, which seems like it can't possibly be true, but then again he is 6-8, 250, so it would be like a windshield running into a fly. He even joked about it after answering pregame questions, bumping into a media member and then apologizing, "Oh, I'm sorry, I bumped you." Laughter ensued, and LeBron walked into the training room with a smile, saying "craziness."
(Just for a minute, let's all do the bump....)
As for the meeting with Spo, LeBron said it was about on- and off-court issues, but nothing bad.
He acknowledged the story from espn.com that used unnamed sources, but his denial was essentially him saying, "I didn't go to anyone." That doesn't mean someone close to him didn't go to the writer and speak off the record. That wouldn't be in LeBron's control, but it doesn't mean what was said isn't true.
But LeBron did say he has no issues with Spo, that it's simply frustration over the lack of offensive flow and lack of wins.
"I think it’s frustration from everyone," James said. "Frustrating for the players, frustrating for the coaching staff but as far as me and Spo being frustrated at each other, I don’t think it is. I got Coach Spo’s back on whatever the case may be. This is who we have. If I have something to say to the Coach Spo, I’m going to go to Coach Spo and if he has something to say to me, which he’s done already, he comes to me. But it’s nothing I will go behind his back to take to the media. I have never done that. I will not do that. It’s not even my M.O."
As for Dwyane's comment, here's how it's being taken from the outside: Wade is essentially choosing between LeBron and Spoelstra just in case there is some sort of conflict. And if that's the case, frankly, it's an easy decision. With all due respect to Spoelstra, no one in that situation would take the side opposite of LeBron.
However, I don't believe that's exactly where Wade was going with that comment. I think he's simply staying away from the whole "Spo is my guy" thing because he doesn't want to look like he's the one who hand-picked Spo as his coach, nor is he the one who is keeping Spoelstra here. Basically, he doesn't want to look like he has more say in this franchise than LeBron does, or any other player for that matter. If that's the case, it's smart. That way, if LeBron has an issue with Spoelstra, it doesn't also mean he has an issue with Wade.
It's all conjecture and craziness and way, way, way too much analysis for a team that's less than a quarter of the way through the season and is missing its fourth and fifth best players and doesnt' have the ideal parts around the big three (but it is fun). From what I saw and heard today, everyone seems to be handling this thing just right. And my prediction is, as long as the Heat wins these next three games against the Wiz, Pistons and Cavs, this issue will slowly die and won't be back for a while.