David Stern is having a blast during his farewell tour, and has generated plenty of buzz around the NBA for levying a $250,000 fine on the San Antonio Spurs in the wake of head coach Gregg Popovich's decision to rest veterans Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Danny Green in a 105-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
A quick recap of the facts:
- Popovich sent the players home via commercial airline in the midst of a grueling, eight-day road trip that included four games in five nights.
- The Spurs almost won the game anyway.
- The Spurs have a history of doing the very same thing in previous seasons.
- Stern cited a "disservice to the league and our fans" as the reason for the fine.
- Though election season is over, there's plenty of divisiveness over which side is correct in this case.
"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."
"That's (the $250K fine) a discount. They need to use the term 'disrespectful', because that's what that was. As a player you learn that you have an obligation to your team, to the league to each other. What if those players weren't playing? It's one thing to not have them in uniform. It's another thing to send them home. What if they wanted to actually interview those guys during the game? Or at the shootaround? This was a screw you almost to the league, to the partners, to the other people involved -- especially to the Miami Heat."
ESPN Los Angeles's Dave McMenamin caught up with Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl after their 122-103 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples center on Friday night. The always-candid coach spoke of the slippery slope the NBA was entering with its decision to fine the Spurs:
"Now we're talking about who can play and when they can play. Are we going to talk about how many shots they got to get? Are we going to go that far? What plays to run? I mean, I'm making a facetious statement, but it's a territory that I know Commissioner Stern has a proud love for the game of basketball, but I think he's dealt with it in an area that made me a little nervous."
Twitter hashtags are fun, #Disservicetofans:
Hey David Stern, having the Bobcats & Wizards in the NBA is a #DisserviceToFans— Skip Bayless (@FunSkipBayless) November 30, 2012
Hiring Pitbull to perform during the All-Star game last year #disservicetofans— Angelo (@CavsFangelo) November 30, 2012
The lockout #disservicetofans— Amin Vafa (@AminVafaNBA) November 30, 2012
There's plenty more where that came from, but you get the idea. This won't go away for awhile.