Erik Spoelstra calls Philadelphia 76ers firing Doc Rivers ‘disturbing’'
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra recently spoke out about the recent firings of some of the veteran coaches in the NBA.

Coaches with great track records have been let go following playoff losses, including Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers), Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns) and Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks). Budenholzer and Williams both met in the NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season.

“I’ve been thinking more about the great, proven, experienced coaches that have lost their jobs already,” Spoelstra said of the recent firings of proven coaches. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Over the last three seasons, the Suns, Bucks and Sixers have the best regular season records among NBA teams. Yet, their playoff shortcomings as of late cost each of their head coaches their jobs.

Spoelstra thinks that coaches may not be getting enough time to instill their culture into a team. He also believe they might be getting let go too quickly.

The 52-year-old said on Tuesday that Rivers getting fired was disturbing.

“It’s disturbing,” Spoelstra said. “Doc’s a Hall of Famer. … You get past the first round, there’s going to be some really good teams. Great players, great organizations, great coaching staffs that are going to lose. It’s part of the nature of this beast. There’s only so many teams that can advance. It’s just a really hard thing to do. It’s been a tough couple weeks, hearing the news of some really surprising firings.”

Spolestra is one of the longest tenured coaches in the NBA at the moment. He has manned the Heat since the 2008-09 season, leading the team to the NBA Finals five times.

The Heat have two NBA titles under Spoelstra’s guidance, and he has been terrific in recent seasons since the team acquired star Jimmy Butler. In four seasons with Butler in Miami, the Heat and Spoelstra have made the Eastern Conference Finals three times.

This season may be one of the best coaching jobs yet from Spoelstra, as his team is in the Eastern Conference Finals as the No. 8 seed in the East. Miami knocked off the Bucks and Budenholzer in the first round of the playoffs, and they also took care of the New York Knicks in the second round despite not having Tyler Herro due to a hand injury.

It’s hard to imagine the Heat moving on from Spoelstra anytime soon given all that he has done for the organization, but some coaches with his level of success recently don’t get the same benefit of the doubt.

As the NBA coaching carousel continues, it will be interesting to see where Rivers, Williams and Budenholzer land ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.