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#pounditSaturday, October 16, 2021

Heat minority owner Ranaan Katz says LeBron wanted Spoelstra fired

LeBron-James-Erik-Spoelstra-MVPIn the wake of David Blatt’s firing, many have wondered whether LeBron James is a “coach killer.” The latest tidbit from Miami Heat minority owner Ranaan Katz would certainly suggest that he is.

Katz, former Blatt assistant Alon Stein, and Bleacher Report writer David Pick appeared as guest panelists on an Israeli sports talk show Tuesday night to talk about the Blatt firing. According to Pick, who transcribed some of the quotes, Katz said that James tried to get Erik Spoelstra fired as head coach of the Heat on multiple occasions.

“With the Miami Heat, LeBron James—before and after his four seasons when his contract was up with the team—made it clear that he wanted to dump head coach Erik Spoelstra,” Katz said on the show hosted by Ofira Asayag on’s 102FM, per Pick. “At one point, [Heat President] Pat Riley called LeBron into his office said that no one will tell him how to run the organization. Riley told James that Spoelstra is his guy, and that firing Spoelstra is out of the question. That was the main reason LeBron returned to Cleveland.”

Spoelstra might not have had James’ respect for many reasons. Spo was young, did not play in the NBA, and he rose from being a video guy in the Heat organization to becoming a head coach. But Riley’s decision to stick with Spo paid off in the form of two championships and four straight trips to the Finals with LeBron.

Katz also said Blatt was limited in Cleveland because he couldn’t tell James what to do.

“He did everything he could, but he realized he couldn’t tell LeBron James what to do,” Katz said.

Katz even confirmed what many already believed, and that is that the Heat drafted Shabazz Napier with their first-round pick in 2014 because James wanted him as a teammate. Of course, James never played with Napier, because a few months after the draft he left for Cleveland.

The big takeaway here is that James supposedly tried to get Spoelstra fired twice. The notion that James didn’t want Spoelstra as his coach seems to jive with this video from 2010, which clearly showed James’ lack of respect for his coach. Funny enough, James did something similar to Blatt, and reports also said he did not respect the former Cavs coach.

As an interesting twist, Katz apparently is denying making those comments.


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