Only one day after NBA Commissioner David Stern levied a hefty fine against the San Antonio Spurs for resting their star players for a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich voiced his disappointment of such a punishment with total justification.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports originally broke the news of the fine via Twitter:
David Stern has fined the Spurs $250,000.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 30, 2012
Here is what Popovich had to say about the fine, per Dan McCarney of MySanAntonio.com:
“What I do from my perspective is a coaching perspective,” he said. “I think the league operates from a business perspective, and that’s reflected in the action they took. That’s that, and we move on.”
A classy yet truthful response from one of the NBA's most respected figures. Popovich could have gone on with a long rant about the fine, but instead he made his response short, sweet and straight to the point.
Popovich's decision to rest Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Danny Green came during a grueling stretch in the Spurs schedule.
Pop felt it necessary to give his top guys a rest during this stretch considering the length of the season, the multiple games in one week and the potential negative impact it can have on the aging starters on his roster.
Last time I checked, that's exactly what Popovich is supposed to do: look out for his own team.
But that logical decision on Pop's part didn't make a difference to Stern. Instead, as Popovich alluded to, money and ratings, or business, was the biggest factor in Stern's decision to hand down such a ridiculous punishment.
Clearly, Stern doesn't have the players' best interests in mind.
What the commissioner turned tyrant failed to realize is that if the Spurs were to lose their best players for an extended time as a result of lack of rest, that would be far more detrimental to the league than missing one game.
And if that were to occur, not even the dictator himself could do anything to fix it.
Pop's disappointment stems from the fact that based on this punishment, NBA teams no longer have the power to look out for themselves. Sure, they can still do that, but it will come with an expensive price tag should the commissioner feel the decision isn't in the best interest of the league's wallet.
Stern's retirement, which is slated for February 2014 (per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today), is still a long ways away. That leaves plenty of time for Stern to rule with an iron fist and make the outrageous decisions that he has become well known for.
It's good to see that Popovich didn't keep quiet on this matter and he was certainly justified in being disappointed in Stern's decision.
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