Spoelstra offers no excuses for Heat struggles last season
MIAMI (AP) Erik Spoelstra got to take plenty of trips during the offseason, met with coaches from other sports to discuss philosophies, even had the time to surprise his mom by showing up for Mother's Day.
All respect to Mrs. Spoelstra, he'd probably prefer to just send flowers next year.
Before moving on to this coming season, the Miami Heat coach spent a few moments Wednesday looking back at last season and made one thing abundantly clear - even after injuries and illness decimated the roster and forced him into using a team-record 31 different starting lineups, he isn't interested in citing anything as an excuse for not making the playoffs.
''Yes, there's some things I would have done differently,'' Spoelstra said in a discussion with the team's beat reporters. ''Is it necessary for me to go through the whole autopsy right now? No. I take responsibility for it and that's where it should be. It should be on my shoulders. I'm not running away from that. And now my energy and my focus is on this team, with big expectations. And you know what? That's the way we like it.''
Chris Bosh missed 38 games, the last 30 of those after he was diagnosed with having a blood clot on his left lung. Dwyane Wade missed 20 games, mostly thanks to a pair of hamstring strains. Hassan Whiteside didn't start posting his breakout numbers until January, Goran Dragic didn't arrive in a trade until February - that deal getting officially signed off upon at virtually the same moment, on the same day, as the Heat learned Bosh's season was over.
But with Bosh healthy again, Wade re-signed for another season and with Dragic and Whiteside about to go through their first full season in Miami, the Heat will gather next week for training camp - the first step toward what Spoelstra fully believes will be a bounceback season for a team that has reached the postseason 10 times in the last 12 years.
''Guys are refreshed,'' Spoelstra said, referring to both players and his coaching staff.
Spoelstra's personal life is about to change; he got engaged this summer to longtime girlfriend Nikki Sapp. But his professional life - specificially, the expectations that come with coaching a team with three NBA titles since 2006 - is not changing.
Put simply, the Heat think they're going to contend this season. Another six-month offseason would not be a good thing.
''Look, you wear this name on our T-shirt and our coaching shirts and those player jerseys, you have a different expectation in this organization,'' Spoelstra said. ''And that's what we like. We want to have an opportunity for those expectations.''
Spoelstra said Bosh will be fully cleared for the first practice, an indicator that the All-Star forward is no longer on bloodthinners. Bosh will meet with reporters on Thursday to discuss more specifics of his medical status. Also expected back for camp is forward Josh McRoberts, who missed nearly the entire 2014-15 season after knee surgery.
The Heat also added Amare Stoudemire to the big-man rotation during free agency, and drafted forward Justise Winslow from Duke.
''We like the talent, we like the depth, we like the experience, we like the skill set we have with our front line,'' Spoelstra said. ''And we like the expectations that it brings.''
Notes: Spoelstra said Mario Chalmers, who was a combo guard last season, is now primarily the backup point guard behind Dragic. ... Chalmers and forward Chris Andersen are due a combined $9.3 million this year, and there's been plenty of speculation that the Heat could move one or both in a move to shed salary and potentially save some luxury-tax money. ''They understand our commitment to winning,'' Spoelstra said. ''I don't have to be here telling you guys that our owner (Micky Arison) and our president (Pat Riley) are committed to doing whatever it takes to win in this league.'' ... The Heat open camp at Florida Atlantic in nearby Boca Raton on Tuesday.