As I'm sure most of you already know, David Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for resting their starters on Thursday night against the Heat. David Stern called the Spurs actions a "disservice" to the league. My only question is - why didn't he fine Popovich personally? He deserved it.
From the comments i've read, fan sentiment seems to be with the Spurs. But in my eyes, this was nothing but an arrogant move by a guy who has started to believe his own press about how brilliant he is. Stern said he fined the Spurs because
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," Stern said in a statement. "The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early season game that was the team's only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."
Teams are required to report as soon as they know a player will not travel because of injury.
Apparently Popovich was upset because his team was tasked with playing Miami on the 5th night of a 4 game in 5 night stretch, while Miami was given the pleasure of 4 days off. No doubt that was a distinct advantage for the Heat, who need no advantages to kick the crap out of other teams. But as far as I'm concerned, that excuse is BS. Who cares?
First of all, the Bulls have been going on an early season Circus trip for who knows how long. I'm sure you can find plenty of teams forced to play 4 games in 5 nights. Schedule losses are a part of the sport.
Secondly, we are only 10-12 games into the season. If the Spurs are already tired, then I'm the King of England. I could understand Duncan or Manu being fatigued - but Parker and Green? Don't flick off the league and expect no repercussions.
Third, it was a TNT game. The NBA only gets so many showcase games a season. A potential finals preview, on the NBA's premiere network (sorry ABC/ESPN) going against an NFL game - that is big for the league. And the challenger - didn't even show up and didn't tell anyone it was not showing up... I wonder how many people switched channels when they saw the Spurs lineup? I know I did. Way to screw over your broadcast partners. I wouldn't put the Spurs on national TV again for another 2 years.
Fourth, I'm sorry - but I don't want to here how some guys making over $10 million a year, who fly in privately chartered jets and stay in the finest hotels, are too tired to play an NBA game. Most NBA fans work at jobs that have longer hours and create more fatigue for about 1% of the paycheck - the fatigue argument doesn't work for me.
But most importantly - the NBA is ENTERTAINMENT. And Popovich, the year after a lockout, robbed fans of their entertainment. We all know the NBA regular season means relatively little. The thing that makes it special, are these showcase games where fans can see the best playing the best.
I didn't even watch last Thursday. If the NBA players and organizations don't care, why should I? That is what Popovich doesn't understand. The NBA is a product, and everyone needs to be selling. That is why players are forced to wear collared shirts. Its why the NBA has mandatory press conferences after games. Its why ESPN spends all that time trying to make you like the Heat, and Rose, and the Thunder, etc. Its why they have sideline reporters and mike some players up. They are selling you something.
If it wasn't for the fans, the people watching on TV, the TV contracts - Pop and his arrogant "I'm smarter than everyone else" attitude would be confined to some college gym or some boardroom.
Pop tried to out arrogant Stern. In the end, he really just gave a middle finger to the fans. The loser was the NBA.