Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra downplayed the bump he received from LeBron James during a timeout in Saturday's loss to Dallas.
At shootaround for Monday night's home game against Washington, Spoelstra told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that it was merely incidental contact and not a sign of dissension or disrespect.
"I didn't even notice it until people mentioned it after the game," Spoelstra told the newspaper. "Often, coming out of the timeout, it's a pinball game. I'm colliding into a lot of people."
Spoelstra said any controversy created by the incident was a product of the intense scrutiny on the Heat.
Dwayne Wade agreed with Spoelstra, telling the Sun Sentinel, ''I think if it was a bump, it was two guys walking at the same time . . . It was no disrespect."
James did not speak to the media, sticking to his policy of talking about 90 minutes before tipoff.
Some have speculated that Spoelstra's days are numbered as Heat coach. Adding to that was an ESPN.com story by Chris Broussard that said the Heat players are frustrated with Spoelstra and are questioning whether he's the right man for the job. The story said he is not letting players be themselves, that they are questioning his offense and that he is panicking at the team's slow start because he's worried about his job security.
Going into tonight's game, the Heat are 9-8 and have lost four of their last five.
Broussard's story was attributed to ''people close to the situation.'' The timing of it, coming on the heels of James bumping Spoelstra, gives more credence to the notion that James did it on purpose. James did the same to former Cavs coach Mike Brown once or twice and Brown lost his job as the Cavs tried to convince James to stay in free agency.
The story and the bumping incident only puts more heat on the Heat as James returns to Cleveland for Thursday's nationally televised game.