Erik Spoelstra’s ex-wife says she had to abandon certain plans when LeBron James left Miami Heat'
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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s ex-wife, Nikki Sapp, recently shared on Instagram photos and videos of herself enjoying a trip to Chicago.

She also shared that her first time in the city, presumably in 2014, had to be cut short because of news that LeBron James was leaving the Heat. He joined the Cleveland Cavaliers that offseason.


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A post shared by Nikki Spoelstra (@nikkisappspo)

The 2014 offseason was a dark time for many in the Heat organization. To rub salt into the wound of losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals that year, Miami also had to endure losing James in free agency.

Interestingly, the four-time MVP’s decision was not as denounced as when he opted to leave Cleveland in 2010. His choice to announce his 2014 move by penning an essay instead of broadcasting it via an ESPN special was evidently the right action.

Even so, James’ impending departure from Miami had the Heat organization scrambling to determine its next steps, and the Spoelstra family was clearly impacted.

Also among those deeply affected by the decision was Heat president Pat Riley. A report from Stephen A. Smith claimed that the former franchise superstar disrespected the executive by playing video games during a free agency meeting.

While the rumor never appeared to be substantiated, what was certain was Riley wasn’t too pleased with James leaving. There was seemingly some animosity between the two over the years.

They eventually let bygones be bygones, with Riley once showing an extraordinary change of heart by saying that James returning to the Cavs was the right thing to do.

As for Spoelstra, he has continued to show after that fateful offseason why he is one of the league’s best coaches.

In the 2015-16 campaign, he steered the Heat to the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed and a conference semifinals appearance. It’s unclear how much further the team could have gone had it not lost Chris Bosh to blood clot issues in the middle of the season.

Several years later, the Heat skipper helped transform Miami into a championship contender again, with the squad reaching two NBA Finals and three conference finals in a span of four seasons.

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Orel writes all day, everyday. During the day, he writes and does research to complete his master's degree in education. During the night, he writes about the league he has loved since the '90s: the NBA.