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HomeNBA"Hell of a Chess Move"- Shaquille O'Neal Lauds Erik Spoelstra's $120 Million...

“Hell of a Chess Move”- Shaquille O’Neal Lauds Erik Spoelstra’s $120 Million Contract Extension Following Divorce

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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal recently shared his thoughts on Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra becoming the highest-paid coach in NBA history when he signed an eight-year contract extension worth $120 million.

Spoelstra and his former cheerleader wife Nikki Sapp, 36, split in November 2023, ending seven years of marriage. They had confirmed that they had made a “joint” decision to file for divorce.

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What grabbed the attention was the fact that the timing of the announcement was within a matter of few weeks after his divorce was finalized.

Shaquille O’Neal opens up on the ‘chess move’

Shaquille O’Neal recently shared his thoughts on Erik Spoelstra’s contract extension and speculated that the Miami Heat might have timed the contract extension flawlessly as Spoelstra went through a divorce. Shaq said that while he doesn’t know if it was a co-incident but he feels if it has been done deliberately then it’s nothing less than a ‘chess move.’

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“So apparently Erik Spoelstra has been going through a divorce,” Shaquille O’Neal said while speaking on The Big Podcast. “So his divorce got final and a couple of days later they [Miami Heat] made him one of the highest paid NBA coaches ever. … I don’t think they did that on purpose, but if they did, that’s a hell of a chess move.”

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Erik Spoelstra in Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra is one of the best NBA coaches. He has been at the helm of the Heat since 2008 and he’s a two-time NBA champion. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich previously held the record with his contract worth $80 million. Now, Spoelstra has shattered coach Pop’s record.

It has been noted that Sapp will not be able to obtain any shares from Spoelsta’s new deal as the coach signed the contract after the divorce. Although the details of Erik Spoelstra’s divorce and agreements were not publicized, it is unclear whether he and Nikki Sapp had agreed to any financial benefits beyond the end of their marriage.

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Bishal Roy
Bishal Roy
Bishal has been working with several renowned publications and has generated sports content for 3+ years. He expresses insightful opinions and analysis having the expertise in writing sports news articles. He has been mainly covering US sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and more for the website. He also writes for SportsIndiaShow and MMA India. When not writing, he will binge-watch web series.
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