So Commissioner, what you’re telling us is that you decide who the coaches start? Just one question, when should the coaches make their first substitution? This call by Stern to fine a team for not playing their starters is absolutely ludacris. Not only is it totally beyond the NBA commissioners jurisdiction to make that call, there were solid reasons to why coach Popovich made the call to send his four starters home early.
The Spurs were on a 6 game road trip in 9 days. That’s not only a lot of basketball, but a lot of miles in between. If you know anything about the Spurs you know that the core of the team is all over the age of 30; Tim Duncan 36, Manu Ginobili 35 and Tony Parker 30. Popovich has built his reputation on keeping his ageing Spurs fresh for the end of the season. Whether that means him resting his starters for an entire game or strategically in the middle of a game, that’s the coach’s call to make.
The Spurs played without their four best players and still only lost 105-100, yet Stern still laid down the quarter million dollar fine. Besides Stern totally stepping out of bounds here on this call, this really concerns me about the future. What Stern just did with that fine is lock in a precedent, saying he has final say in who starts and who sits. I don’t think that’s healthy for any sport, nor do I think that is what the NBA is all about. I understand that every professional sport is a business, but what is this business trying to do, sell the most tickets or win the most championships? Not sure about you readers, but I know who won last year’s championship, but I couldn’t even begin to guess who sold the most tickets, nor do I care.
Stern has made some questionable calls in the past, but I see this move as him flexing his muscles. Or maybe he was trying to gain some respect with the fans here, which back fired. Any real NBA fan understands the reason why Pop sent his 36 year old center home early from a road trip. I would love to see this call reversed and an apology from Stern, but that’s just me dreaming. Let’s just hope that this is the first and last coaching call the NBA commissioner makes.