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MIAMI - OCTOBER 12: Forward LeBron James #6 and head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat on the bench during a game against CSKA Moskow on October 12, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** LeBron James;Erik Spoelstra
Heat Head coach Erik Spoelstra not only has to dodge his players' big shoulders, now he might have to dodge their desire to see him lose his job.
Sources close to the team told ESPN that the players are frustrated with Coach Spo and some think he might not be the right man to helm the Heat.
Things may have soured during a recent practice, where Spoelstra told James he had to act more serious, according to ESPN. "I can't tell when you're serious," Spoelstra is alleged to have told the two-time NBA MVP.
"He's jumping on them," one source told ESPN. "If anything, he's been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn't believe it. They feel like Spoelstra's not letting them be themselves."
James may have shown Spoelstra just how serious he was during Saturday's game against Dallas, when he was caught on camera bumping Spoelstra as he headed to the bench during a timeout.
After Saturday's loss to the Mavericks, Wade seemed to stand by his coach.
"I never would put anything on the coach -- win, lose or draw -- because they can give us the game plan but they're not on the court playing," said Wade. "Now it's time to take ownership. This is our team, even though we respect our coaches for what they do."
ESPN's sources said some players think Spoelstra is panicking because he's fearing his job hangs in the balance.
"He's not a motivator," a source said. "Instead of coaching he's at the point where the players are starting to sense that he's fearing for his job."
Spoelstra, 40, became the Heat's head coach in 2008, when Pat Riley stepped down to work solely as the team president. It was rumored over the summer that Riley could take the reins of the team, but the six-time NBA championship winning coach later said he wouldn't be taking over for Spoelstra.
One source told ESPN the problem isn't the coach, but the players.
"They don't want to step on each other's toes," a member of the Heat said. "There's no leader on the team. Somebody has to speak up and be the leader on the team. They can't be afraid to step on people's toes. They need a vocal leader who's going to make everybody accountable. I don't think it's on the coach. It's on the players."