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Will Joel Abelson Return Next Season As Head Coach of Sioux Falls Skyforce?

The Heat have entered into a single affiliation with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League. Will Joel Abelson be back as head coach?

When an NBA organization enters into a single affiliation with a D-League squad, they take over full and sole control of basketball operations.

And because the NBA team is likely interested in utilizing the NBADL to the best of their ability, a staff with whom they are familiar with is usually put in place to better aid such a process and build some unity between both squads.

With that in mind, it would make sense if the Heat chose to fill out the Sioux Falls Skyforce's basketball operations staff with executives already employed by the NBA organization. What's more, a smart experimental move could also be hiring a Heat alumni or two to help lead the Skyforce's coaching staff.

Though the very process to fill such positions will likely span out in the weeks to come (perhaps even following the NBA Draft later this month), a familiar face to Sioux Falls is hoping he is given the opportunity to return.

Joel Abelson, the longtime D-League coach who had the opportunity to lead the Skyforce last season, is reportedly hopeful that he will soon meet with Heat officials and perhaps even interview for his "old' job.

Having joined Sioux Falls in hopes of righting the ship last season, Abelson led the Skyforce to a 25-25 record on the year, a ten win improvement from the season prior. That said, the team fell short of securing the eighth and final playoff spot on the regular season's final day.

But a year in Sioux Falls undoubtedly gave Abelson the opportunity to strut his own stuff and prove why he should, at the very least, be a candidate to stick around. In addition to leading his team to that nice win-improvement, the coach was a strong player with regard to an array of the team's young guns' progress.

If the Heat need any more convincing, they'd have to look no further than at the work Abelson did with Jarvis Varnado, who in fact received a call-up from Miami just weeks after beginning to excel (and emerge as an early NBADL "Defensive Player of the Year" candidate) with the Skyforce.

As for his own familiarity with the Heat organization, Abelson also spent time with a number of the Skyforce's affiliate staffs in training camp last fall. He's a committed member to the Sioux Falls community, and could help narrow the gap between both teams as they build unity next season.

Bringing in a former player could certainly prove to have its benefits, but keeping Abelson aboard could quickly end up paying dividends too, if the Heat are looking forward to seeing some of their assigned young guns improve sooner rather than later.