By Stan Silliman
Phil Jackson Mind Tricks Pat Riley and the Heat
Phil Jackson suggests, perhaps, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's days may be numbered.
Jackson said so November 23rd on the "Waddle and Silvy" ESPN 1000 radio show in Chicago. Then he followed it up with the possibility Miami Heat president, Pat Riley, will take over as coach.
Sure, the Heat are struggling with many injuries, a D-League bench, plus an unimpressive 8-6 record BUT did they need Phil Jackson mapping out a scenario? Now that Haslem is hobbled and Wade is wobbly, did Spoelstra need a toxic time bomb sent his way in the form of a Jackson quote?
Not even the Unibomber was this sneaky.
Did they need the Zenmaster screwing with their heads? Scenarios planted in such a way that it will appear to be a repeat of 2005-2006, when Riley replaced Stan Van Gundy, if Riley indeed does give Spoelstra the boot?
Is this even legal...or ethical?
We know Red Auerbach used to do this all the time. Plant little cancer seeds that metastasized and destroyed opponents locker rooms. But, that was a different era. Today, we have a control-freak commissioner who is not shy about giving Phil Jackson's belly button a talking to. Will he chastise a guy with 11 championship rings for gigging the Heat?
Here's the way the quote went down: "Eventually these guys that were recruited--Bosh and James-- by Pat Riley and Micky Arison, the owner, are going to come in and say,'We feel you (Riley) can do a better job coaching the team." Then he finished by saying "It could be the Van Gundy thing all over again."
So Jackson not only slipped needles into Riley and Spoelstra, he also managed to irritate Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
It's not that Phil doesn't respect Riley's and Arison's accomplishment in assembling the all-star threesome in Miami. Jackson said the Heat have a "better chance of winning 70 games than the Lakers. Maybe not this year, but they have enough talent and youth to do so."
So Jackson sees the Heat as the future, maybe unstoppable. Unless, of course, someone messes with their minds. Could that happen? Could someone plant the notion Jutjaw plans to kick out the loveable Eric Spoelstra for selfish glory-grabbing, ring-padding purposes?
And, if so, would this make Miami an even more hated team?
Possibly. We can see it. It might become a public relations nightmare. Two young talented coaches fired, then replaced by a grizzled opportunistic coaching legend...and a dandy dresser.
Yeah, there could be backlash. There could be new beads of sweat popping up on Eric Spoelstra's neck. Every time the Heat underperforms, he'll feel the piercing Riley stare penetrating through his skull into the frontal lobe.
And when this happens the Phil Jackson quotes will resonate "Bosh and James will go to Pat... Bosh and James will go to Pat. You could do a better job... You could do a BETTER JOB! Better Job! Better Job."
And right then lovable Eric Spoelstra loses it. He spills his orange juice, spits on his clipboard, grabs a machete and holds Mike Miller captive.
"I've had it! Damn you, Pat," Eric might say. "Come out here if you don't want to see Mike Miller's head in a Gatorade bucket."
Only one person can talk Eric Spoelstra
down. You guessed it, Phil Jackson, who has been been summoned and is
voicing his calmness over a speaker phone.
"It's just a game, Eric." Phil will say, guru like solitude in his voice. "You don't need to climb the mountain, Eric. There's nothing at the top. Life exists...life is on the sides of the mountain. Put down your knife, Eric. Live life on the mountain sides. Enjoy the flowers growing in the rocks."
"I will do it, Phil," says Eric, dropping his machete. "I will live life on the sides. I will smell the flowers. Thank you, Phil. By the way. How'd you know I would snap."
"I had no idea,"says Phil."I had absolutely...no idea."
Phil puts down the phone. Behind him Kobe
and Lamar do a high five. Phil turns to them and says "Guys, I told him
'I had no idea why he snapped.' I said I had no idea."
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