On Thursday, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke with the media, confirming that the choice of very expletive words had indeed landed Waiters with a fine due to what the team calls “detrimental conduct”.
Spoelstra said: “We fined him and we addressed it as a team,” before going on to add: “I have empathy for everything he’s gone through in the last year to get back to where he is right now. But this is not about him. This is only about the team and it’s about winning.”
Waiters also had the chance to speak after practice on Thursday ahead of tonight’s game at the Detroit Pistons, saying: “Sometimes, it’s hard holding back the truth, how you really feel, and sometimes the best way is let it out and move forward. I made a mistake but I can live with that because when you hold something in and it’s bottled up, it can wear on you a little bit.”
It seems that the player clearly regrets the way he handled the situation, but one thing is for sure, it won’t have any influence on Spoelstra’s decision on how much time on the court that he gets. Spoelstra said: “Ranting out in the media [is] not going to move the needle with me at all. I just don’t think it’s healthy for our team. It ends up just being a distraction…. It won’t be on his terms. It’ll be on the team’s terms.”
When asked whether he could continue to deal with how many minutes that he is currently getting, Waiters replied: “I don’t know. I can’t sit here and tell you that. I can’t predict the future. All I can do is continue to try to stay in shape and work on my game and have a clear mind and not try to think about negative stuff.”
It will be interesting to keep an eye on how the relationship between the coach and player will play out, now that both have agreed the matter has been dealt with. Something that is worth noting however, the team did shop him in the trade market back in the summer and with the trade deadline just around the corner (February 7th), the Heat could once again try to off load his four-year, $52 million contract which still has two years left to run.
Can the Heat and Waiters draw a line under this matter or does this potentially spark the end of Waiters’ time in Miami?