[ESPN] MIAMI — The NBA’s most powerful man and its most respected and iron-willed coach plunged into an unexpected battle of wills Thursday over a basic tenet: A coach can decide what is best for his team.
San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich sent stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, plus key role player Danny Green, on a commercial flight home instead of playing them in a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat so they could rest ahead of the Spurs’ Saturday home game against the league-leading Memphis Grizzlies.
NBA commissioner David Stern issued a statement before the game started apologizing to fans and saying, “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”
“I don’t think Pop was in the wrong; it’s not in the rules to tell you you can’t send your guys home,” said LeBron James, who had 23 points in the Heat’s fifth straight win. “The commish made his decision and everybody else will deal with it.” Full Story
SANCTIONS?! Don’t talk about SANCTIONS? SANCTION? Are you kidding me?! What does San Antonio know about SANCTIONS?
Sorry, got carried away. Any who…
Really Stern? Really?
Final score: Miami 105, San Antonio 100.
So Popovich sends home Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, and the Spurs only lose by five points to the almighty Heat. And Stern is going to penalize the Spurs, Popovich because of his TV ratings? Why can’t a coach play who he wants to play? It’s not Popvich’s fault the regular season is way too long. This is what he does. He rests his guys during the regular season, so they’re fresh during the post-season. Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili aren’t getting any younger. Pop figures beating the Heat is extremely difficult even with those three, so why not concede the game and give those aging stars some needed and deserved rest.
82 game season. That’s your problem, Stern. Not Pop’s.