Why LeBron James never had the power to fire Heat’s Erik Spoelstra, per David Fizdale
Being one of the best players in the NBA today, one narrative that has unfortunately hounded Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James for pretty much majority of his career is his alleged (over) influence on his teams’ front offices, including his stop with the Miami Heat.
During his time with the Heat — especially before James won his first title with the squad in 2012 — there were rumors that James wanted the Heat brass to get rid of head coach Erik Spoelstra. For his part, then Miami assistant coach David Fizdale gave his thoughts on this notion, saying that this simply was not the case.
“When it comes to players with power, your front office has to really be strong and your culture has to be strong to weather disgruntled players,” the former Knicks coach said on ESPN Radio, via Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. “And you have to have a certain amount of support for your coach so when things get turbulent.
“I’ll give you a perfect example, it wasn’t always perfect in Miami between (coach Erik Spoelstra) and LeBron. But one thing we knew for sure, Spo wasn’t going anywhere, because he had the support of (team president Pat Riley and owner Mickey Arison), from the standpoint of, ‘This is our culture, this is how we do things, and everyone has to adjust to that.’ That’s the thing I respect so much about those teams like San Antonio and Miami, they make the players adapt to their culture. They don’t go the other way.”
Not long ago, there were also some nasty rumors that James’ influence was one of the reasons behind the firing of former Lakers head coach Luke Walton last summer. If we were to base it on Fizdale’s comments above, however, then perhaps this is another tall tale spun by the media for the lone purpose of a headline-grabbing narrative.