Erik Spoelstra says Pat Riley has daily input while beyond Heat's Disney bubble

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

The Pat Riley influence still travels, even with the iconic Miami Heat president back in South Florida.

So, too, coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday, does the input and impact from the rest of the team's staff beyond the 37-person limit the team is allowed in the quarantine bubble-type setting at Disney World amid the NBA restart.

Speaking before Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, Spoelstra mentioned how several members of the organization are contributing from afar, noting assistant coach Octavio De La Grana, director of sports nutrition Betsy Berthin, director of NBA scouting Chad Kammerer, as well Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg.

"Literally and daily contact with Coach O, multiple times a day," Spoelstra said, with the remainder of his coaching staff at Disney. "And then he's in contact with our players, as well."

As for Berthin, Spoelstra said nutrition continues to be a priority.

"Betsy, even though she's in Miami, has had a significant role, in trying to help guide guys with their nutrition here in the bubble," Spoelstra said. "And the food has gotten much better as we've been here."


The Heat have used their staff within the bubble to advance scout opponents, but Spoelstra said Kammerer remains involved with what typically otherwise is his job.

"Chad Kammerer still sends me his notes, and he's able to watch the practices and obviously the games," Spoelstra said. "But his perspective is really important to this head coach."

As for Riley, the presence remains, both written and verbal.

"And then I get my daily notes, and/or conversations, with Coach Riley, which, for me, are the most important," Spoelstra said. "So we're making the most of it. It's not a perfectly ideal situation for any organization, when you don't have your full complement of people here. But we're making it work."


swipe to next page