Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson isn't surprised that the revamped Miami Heat are struggling initially, but he thinks if they don't get it together soon coach Erik Spoelstra's days could be numbered.
After adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to go along with Dwyane Wade, Miami has limped to an 8-6 record. Wade has been banged up, Mike Miller hasn't played a game and now Udonis Haslem could miss significant time.
"That record, I think, says a lot about coming together with some real talented guys, and not having a base," Jackson said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "And then some things happened to them, Wade getting hurt."
"They're still kind of searching out how they're going to find a role and work their roles together," Jackson continued.
With expectations so high going into the season after team president Pat Riley assembled his dream team, the pressure is on Spoelstra to deliver. When the Heat struggled to an 11-10 start to the 2005-06 season, Riley shocked the league by replacing Stan Van Gundy on the Miami bench. He hadn't coached since the 2002-03 campaign but led the Heat to the NBA championship.
"The scenario that sits kind of behind the scene, is that eventually these guys that were recruited -- Bosh and James -- by Pat Riley and Mickey Arrison, the owner, are going to come in and say, 'We feel you [Riley] can do a better job coaching the team. We came here on the hopes that this would work,' and whatever, I don't know," Jackson said. "That's kind of my take on it, is that eventually if things don't straighten out here soon, it could be the Van Gundy thing all over again."
There's probably some sports psychology/47th layer chess move Jackson is getting at here. Or maybe he's just saying what everyone else is thinking. But why on earth would he want to hasten the arrival of Riley in Miami? Because isn't that when the [redacted]-kicking is going to ensue?