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Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra agree on eight-year contract, most lucrative ever for NBA coach

MIAMI — The Miami Heat on Tuesday night announced the team has reached terms on an extension with coach Erik Spoelstra, who has been working in the final year of his contract. Terms of what the team termed “a long-term contract” were not disclosed.

A person familiar with the agreement told the South Florida Sun Sentinel the contract is for eight years, with a salary that puts the total value at $120 million, largest total in a contract ever for an NBA coach.

Spoelstra’s salary this season had been reported at $8.5 million. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich is earning a reported $16 million this season, with Monty Williams receiving a reported $13 million in this first season with the Detroit Pistons. Spoelstra’s deal exceeds the largest previous total in a coaching contract.

Spoelstra, 53, took over as Heat coach from Heat president Pat Riley on April 28, 2008, now second in NBA coaching tenure only to Popovich. This is Spoelstra’s 16th season as Heat coach, his 29th as a member of the organization, having previously served as a video coordinator, scout and assistant coach.

Spoelstra has a 725-506 coaching record during the regular season and 109-75 postseason record that includes 12 playoff appearances, nine division titles, six conference championships and guiding the franchise to NBA championships in 2012 and ’13.

Since his ascension to head coach, the Heat have the third-best regular-season and fourth-best postseason winning percentages in the NBA.

In February 2022, Spoelstra was selected as one of the 15 Greatest Coaches in NBA history as part of the league’s 75th-anniversary celebration.

Spoelstra, who passed Riley on Miami’s all-time victory list with win number 455 on Dec. 16, 2017, has been honored as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month a franchise-record nine times.

Since stepping in as coach, following in the Heat’s lineage of Ron Rothstein, Kevin Loughery, Alvin Gentry, Riley and Stan Van Gundy, Spoelstra has coached a variety of roster types, first inheriting a lottery team; then coaching the Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh; then beginning a developmental process that eventually pushed the Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020 and then again last season.

Spoelstra is just the fourth coach to lead his team to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, as he did during the Big Three era, joining Red Auerbach, K.C. Jones and Riley, all of whom have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

Since Spoelstra took over in 2008, no coach has recorded more playoff victories than Spoelstra’s 109 and his 23 postseason series wins are tied with Golden State’s Steve Kerr for the most the past 15 seasons.

Spoelstra has recorded 834 total career wins (725 regular season and 109 postseason), the fourth-most by a coach with a single franchise, behind only Auerbach (Celtics), Jerry Sloan (Jazz) and Popovich (Spurs).

Additionally, Spoelstra has coached over 1,000 career regular-season games, becoming the third coach in NBA history to coach 1,000 or more games with only one franchise for his entire career, joining Popovich and Al Attles (Warriors).

Spoelstra served as an assistant coach to Kerr with Team USA at last summer’s World Championships in the Philippines and will be in the same role with USA Basketball at this coming summer’s Paris Olympics.

A Filipino American, Spoelstra is the first Asian American coach in the history of the four major U.S. sports leagues and the first Asian American coach to win an NBA title.

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