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Riley resigns as coach but stays as president

From the Associated Press

Pat Riley’s worst season as coach of the Miami Heat will be his last.

The Hall of Famer resigned as coach Monday but remains team president. Erik Spoelstra, a 37-year-old assistant, will succeed Riley, 63, and become the NBA’s youngest current coach. Spoelstra has never been a head coach at any level.

Miami finished the season with the NBA’s poorest record (15-67) and, by far, the worst of Riley’s 25-year career.

“Today, I am definitely sure that I don’t want to do this anymore,” Riley said.

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As president, Riley will continue overseeing the plan to rebuild a franchise that’s only two years removed from a championship. The on-court duties now belong to Spoelstra, who started in the Heat video room in 1995.

The Heat could get a major piece in their rebuilding if they land the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Unless he comes back, Riley finishes his career with 1,210 victories, third most in NBA history behind Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson. He has won seven championships in all, five as a head coach, one as an assistant and one as a player, and was voted into the 2008 Hall of Fame class this month. His induction is Sept. 5.

Riley first stepped aside as Heat coach days before the 2003-04 season when he named then-assistant Stan Van Gundy coach. Van Gundy remained coach for two-plus seasons before being replaced by Riley 21 games into the 2005-06 season, which ended with the Heat’s only NBA title.

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But the Heat has gone 59-105 in regular-season games since, the second-biggest two-year fall by a championship team in NBA history.

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New Orleans’ Byron Scott, who led the Hornets to a franchise-record 56-26 regular season and their first playoff appearance in four years, has been chosen as the NBA coach of the year, the Associated Press has learned. The Hornets planned a “major announcement” at 10 a.m. today.

Meanwhile, the NBA ruled that Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd will not be suspended or fined following his ejection Sunday for a flagrant foul on Hornets guard Jannero Pargo late in Game 4.

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Hedo Turkoglu, who averaged career highs of 19 points, five rebounds and five assists in helping the Orlando Magic win its first division title in 12 years, was selected as the NBA’s most improved player.

Turkoglu averaged 13 points, four rebounds and three assists last season.

Turkoglu received 61 first-place votes and 380 points in the voting by a media panel, well ahead of Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (167 points) and Portland Trailblazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (128).

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Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce and Washington Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson were fined $25,000 each by the NBA for making “menacing gestures” in playoff games, another attempt by the league to crack down on bad behavior.

Pierce was sanctioned for flashing a hand gesture toward Atlanta’s Al Horford and attempting to stare him down in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ loss to the Hawks on Saturday in Game 3.

Stevenson was called for a flagrant foul when he swiped LeBron James’ burgundy headband late in the first half of a loss to the Cavaliers.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern will not be ordered to testify in a case brought by the city of Seattle to try to keep the SuperSonics from moving, though a federal judge may consider ordering the testimony in the future.


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