NBA fines Spurs $250k for resting players
In a pretty paramount decision on Friday, the NBA announced that the San Antonio Spurs organization has been fined $250,000 for head coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green back to San Antonio ahead of the Spurs’ 105-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
According to the NBA’s press release,”The Spurs’ actions were in violation of a league policy, reviewed with the NBA Board of Governors in April 2010, against resting players in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA.”
I don’t pretend to know the NBA rule book much more than anyone else who follows the league at something like an arm’s length away. But I have never heard of this league policy, and if it’s been in place since April 2010, why haven’t we heard of it before, when Coach Pop was resting his starters during the lockout-shortened season? Or the year before, when he rested the big three before a nationally-televised road game against the Denver Nuggets?
Also in the press release is a statement from NBA Commissioner David Stern:
“The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case. 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.”
Again, these things weren’t problems before, so I struggle to see why they’re problems now. Because it’s still November? Because the game was on TNT and there was only one other game on that night? I’m sure all of these things came into play.
This is very thin ice that we’re walking on here. Coach Pop’s job is to win games. Is it wrong to sacrifice one game so you can possibly win two more? His responsibility is to his owner and his players. If both of those parties approve of his decision to send his players home, then Pop’s move is fine with me.
It’s entertainment to all of us, and I understand the point of view for fans who live in the Miami area that paid to see Duncan, Parker Ginobili — and even Danny Green — that didn’t get to because of Pop’s decision. I also sympathize with the folks who live outside the Spurs broadcast area that don’t have the luxury of watching the Spurs on League Pass. Coach Pop understands their position as well.
I don’t know the specifics of Pop’s contract with the Spurs, but I would guess there’s nothing in there about entertainment value, TV ratings or ticket sales, otherwise they would’ve run his ass out of town years ago when he was starting Rasho Nesterovic and Bruce Bowen, and winning games 83-70. He does what he thinks is best to put his team in a position to win in June, it’s up to other people in other positions with teams and the league to polish the turd he sometimes leaves behind.