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Spoelstra ready to move Heat forward

Coach embraces offseason change

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was named the NBA Eastern Conference coach of the Month for February.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was named the NBA Eastern Conference coach of the Month for February.

MIAMI – Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is ready to move the team forward following a disappointing end to last season and the loss of their superstar.

Speaking at the team's media day session, Spoelstra said it took him less than 10 minutes to move forward after LeBron James' announcement to return to Cleveland.

Having lost James to the Cavaliers, Spoelstra said the team needs to start anew, but added "There are certain bedrock foundations of what we do."

Those foundations include a defensive-minded philosophy that goes back to the days of Pat Riley coaching the Heat.

Spoelstra called this season a "blank canvas" and warned of the dangers of trying to plug in players to last year's starting team.

During his 30-minute media conference, Spoelstra touched on a variety of items:

- Dwyane Wade had a terrific summer of training and getting away. Spoelstra believes that Wade is embracing the fact that this is a new team.

- The Heat's offseason addition Luol Deng falls in line with the Heat code and Spoelstra believes Deng's intangibles, like toughness, will help Miami greatly.

- The team doesn't want to put a ceiling on the potential of new addition Josh McRoberts who is coming off a breakout year in Charlotte.

- Spoelstra does not want Chris Bosh to revert back to his Toronto days, instead he and the team see him as a more versatile player, who is a better leader.

- Norris Cole "blasted" his conditioning test on Thursday and he's in the best shape he's seen him as a member of the Heat.

Before ending his media session, Spoelstra added that despite the loss of James and the mystery of what the Heat will look without him, he doesn't want "outside noise" to be the motivating factor for the team.


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