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CHARLOTTE, USA – Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has agreed to a contract extension with the team that will make him the longest-tenured coach in franchise history.
According to an ESPN report, the eight-year, $120-million deal will also make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league.
In average annual value, Spoelstra’s $15 million per year would slot in behind San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who earns $19 million on his current contract but for a shorter length of time.
It would represent the largest overall deal for a head coach not only in the NBA, but in North American sports, per the report.
News of his contract extension was first reported by Heat beat reporter Ira Winderman and later officially announced by the team.
The Filipino-American was named as one the league’s top 15 coaches during the NBA’s 75th anniversary.
Spoelstra is in his 16th season as head coach and 29th season with the team, where he started in the video room and rose through the ranks. He was given the reins of the team in April 2008.
He took on the challenge of Miami’s Big Three era, when LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined forces with Dwyane Wade from 2010 to 2014. That led to four NBA Finals stint and championships in 2012 and 2013.
After that run, the Heat was forced to go in a developmental route of building the team with draft picks and finding gems in unheralded players. They also became a free agent destination, with Jimmy Butler choosing to come in 2021.
Spoelstra led the team to the NBA Finals again in 2020, and just recently, in June 2023.
Spoesltra, whose mother hails from San Pablo, Laguna, is the first Asian-American coach to win an NBA title.
He was a recent Manila visitor, serving as assistant coach of Team USA in the FIBA World Cup and will also be joining USA Basketball in the 2024 Paris Olympics. – with a report from Reuters/Rappler.com