Erik Spoelstra gets new contract
MIAMI -- Another potential 2012 free agent is off the market. The Miami Heat, concerned he might attract interest from other teams and pleased with his performance, signed coach Erik Spoelstra to a contract extension Friday.
A league source said the deal adds two years to Spoelstra's contract to carry him through the 2013-14 season, the same time frame as the Heat's stars, all of whom have opt-outs in their deals after that season.
The new deal calls for Spoelstra to earn a $250,000 bonus this season, then $2.75 million for next season and $3 million in 2013-14, sources told ESPN.com.
It makes the total value of the extension two years and $6 million. Spoelstra was going into the final year of his contract and was one of the lowest-paid coaches in the league at less than $2 million per season.
Spoelstra, 41, is 148-98 in three years as the Heat's coach, with an 18-15 postseason record that includes last season's run to the Finals. Team president Pat Riley announced Spoelstra's extension on Friday.
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"We have one of the great young coaches in the league and (he) is an absolute member of this family," Riley said. "He's the perfect coach for this team now. The reason why we did it was to extend him and keep him in the family and (not) have somebody come steal him away from us."
Spoelstra was not available for immediate comment. The Heat had the day off Friday, and Riley spoke at his annual preseason availability.
Spoelstra has been with the team for 17 years, starting in the video room and working his way up. He became one of the youngest head coaches in the league when he was promoted from assistant to replace Riley on the bench in 2008.
"Me and Erik, our relationship will continue to grow," James said this week. "It's much better today than it was the first day of practice last year. We didn't know each other at all. We were still learning each other. We'd seen each other from a distance. I'd seen him coach from the sideline ... he'd seen me play while he was coaching from the sideline. Our relationship is really good right now. I'm happy with where we are right now."
Spoelstra twice has had his salary reduced as part of franchise-wide cost-cutting measures, once in 2009 and once during the recent lockout. Other coaches with his experience level who had reached the Finals as head coaches -- such as the New Jersey Nets' Avery Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers' Mike Brown -- were earning between $4 million to $5 million a year.
Riley said Friday that the contract extension had been in the works for a while, but a source told ESPN.com that Spoelstra recently was preparing himself not to be offered a new deal before the season. Last week, Spoelstra said that he wouldn't allow his contract situation to be a distraction from the team and did not plan to discuss it in the media.
By doing the deal before their Christmas Day opener in Dallas, the Heat may have protected Spoelstra from some scrutiny.
"He wouldn't have been a lame-duck coach even though (the media) would've made him one," Riley said. "We want him to become a Hall of a Famer."
During the news conference, Riley also re-committed himself to remain with the team long-term. Riley, 66, sold a 10 percent stake in the team several years ago and has been operating on a year-to-year contract with team owner Micky Arison.
"Where am I going to go?" Riley said. "The lockout, to me, drove me crazy ... the Arisons have been great to me."
Brian Windhorst covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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