December 16, 2011 / 11:35 PM / 7 years ago

Heat give coach Spoelstra new contract

(Reuters) - The Miami Heat have rewarded coach Erik Spoelstra with a contract extension, team president Pat Riley said Friday.

Spoelstra, Riley’s hand-picked successor in 2008, coached the LeBron James-led Heat to the NBA Finals last season where they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

“We have one of the great young coaches in the league,” Riley told a news conference. “We wanted to extend him and keep him in the family and not have someone steal him away from us.”

Contract details were not announced.

Spoelstra, 41, has compiled a 148-98 record in three seasons as Miami’s coach. He led the Heat to the Eastern Conference championship and a 58-24 regular-season record in their first season with James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade playing together.

“He is somebody who is very innovative, he’s not afraid to take some risks,” Riley said. “It’s paramount for him to develop a relationship, a real relationship, with his key guys, and he does that extremely well.”

Reporting By Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg

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