San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to send stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green home to rest at the tail end of a 6-game road trip instead of playing against the Miami Heat on national television tonight. This ticked off NBA Commissioner David Stern, who threatened substantial sanctions for Pop's actions:
"I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming" - David Stern.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 30, 2012
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith believes that "substantial sanctions" could include a hefty fine, or even a suspension of Popovich for sitting this stars. See his analysis in the video below:
I understand that it was a nationally televised game and what not, but I think it's absolutely ridiculous to punish a team for sitting their stars, namely one like the Spurs where age is an issue and Popovich is one of the best coaches in the league. Stern has no right to question Popovich's judgement on when to rest his players, especially in November, and it would have been their 4th game in 5 days. The Spurs would prefer to focus on their game against the Memphis Grizzlies coming up, a team that is in their conference and that knocked them out of the playoffs 2 seasons ago when the Spurs were the top seed in the West:
Popovich on resting stars: "We’re making a wiser decision & not a macho decision. It’ll give us an opp. to stay on floor w/MEM on Sat."
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 30, 2012
Pop also added: "Every team goes through tough months travelwise. You don't bitch and moan about it. You deal with it the best way you can."
The funny part is that the Spurs almost beat the Heat minus their stars, and were leading until about the last minute of the game.
I think most of us will be happy when Stern's reign is over, as the NBA hands out fines and suspensions for the littlest things these days. DH 11/29/2012 11:55:00 PM Tweet