James, Spoelstra downplay 'bump'

MIAMI — LeBron James says his shoulder-bump of Erik Spoelstra carried no hidden meaning.

"Incidental contact," James said.

Regardless, James and Spoelstra met for about 30 minutes before the Miami Heat hosted the Washington Wizards on Monday night, talking offense and trying to find more common ground as the relationship between the two-time reigning NBA MVP and the third-year coach continues to grow.

James collided with Spoelstra while walking off the floor for a timeout in Dallas on Saturday night, prompting almost immediate — and ongoing — speculation that it was some sort of sign of disrespect. Spoelstra said he didn't view it that way, and James insisted Monday that there was nothing untoward going on at that moment.

"I didn't realize. I don't think Coach realized it either until they brought it to our attention," James said. "Really nothing, honestly."

There is speculation that their relationship is frosty anyway.

Citing an unnamed source, ESPN.com reported on Monday that Spoelstra told James during a recent shootaround practice — which are closed — that he had to be more serious. The same report also said unnamed sources believe Spoelstra "is panicking because he fears losing his job."

James said Monday night that when he needs to say something to Spoelstra, "I go to Spo. I don't need to tell a source or whatever the case may be."

Spoelstra said he didn't mind the adversity.

"This is when your relationships get strengthened," Spoelstra said. "As long as it doesn't break, I call these 'healthy conflicts.' I truly believe these are good for a team. As long as you can survive these, it'll make you stronger. It'll make your bonds stronger."

Miami's players held a 40-minute team meeting in Dallas after Saturday's loss.

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