Blogtable: What About Pop?

Each week, we ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Here’s an extra one on the hottest topic of the day.

What do you think of Gregg Popovich’s decision to rest four key players — including Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili — Thursday night in Miami?

Steve Aschburner: I didn’t like Gregg Popovich‘s moves in the past and I had a sense in April that we hadn’t seen the last of them. The league should have rebuked him then before it became a full-blown Popgate, but that doesn’t mean it can’t start now.

Was this right according to Popovich’s priorities? OK, on a micro level. But on every macro level, this was wrong.

Wrong in terms of the integrity of the game, which is the foundation of the Spurs’ championship ambitions. Wrong for ticket buyers in Miami or any other city in which the stunt gets pulled.

Wrong pragmatically – what if, like the Celtics Wednesday, the leftover Spurs lost one player to ejection and a couple to injury during the game. Wrong for TNT, which pays huge rights fees to broadcast the NBA’s showcase night. Wrong for the NBA product overall, too, in terms of something farcical in place of a potentially great matchup. If Pop didn’t like the schedule, then be Mr. Honest (he’s getting praised for not lying about phony injuries) and criticize that. But a TNT game does matter more because it attracts more casual NBA fans.

Obviously, this was a flop job by the Spurs. And yes, it would have been better to have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green on the bench or playing just five minutes, rather than skipping the trip altogether. Maybe one of them would have signed an autograph for somebody. I don’t buy the slippery slope hand-wringing about NBA HQ dictating future playing time.
Deal with this for what it was – a fine now, suspensions for future offenses – and take it out of San Antonio’s network TV cut. Or frame the case as a salary-cap violation (the Spurs doling out too many paid holidays).

Fran Blinebury: It’s not about taking away Pop’s control over his own team. The issue is the integrity of the game and, as much as nobody wants to hear it, the business of the league. Many teams, the Heat included, have tiered pricing for tickets. That means they charge more for games against elite teams, of which the Spurs are one. Injuries cannot be avoided, but a blanket holdout of All-Star players is simply a slap in the face of customers.

As for the complaint about grueling schedules — back-to-backs, four games in five nights, etc. — please, spare me. When the 1971-72 Lakers set the all-time record of 33 straight wins, they played several sets of three games in three nights in three cities. And they flew commercial, not on cushy charter flights. Is the 82-game schedule too long, too often crazy? Yes. Of course, the solution is to play a shorter schedule, which would produce better basketball, but fewer home games and less revenue for owners. That’s doable if the players and coaches all take a commensurate salary cut. Let me know when pigs fly and that happens.

I do believe it is wrong for David Stern to come down with a fine or punishment of Pop and/or the Spurs in this instance, because the league has winked and chuckled and allowed this practice to go on previously. It shouldn’t be an overreaction to a plum TNT game. This should be the red line, the declaration that the practice stops now and will be clearly punished in the future.

Jeff Caplan: David Stern has legit concerns: Sponsors belly up to the bar with multi-million-dollar television contracts and the golden goose lines the pockets of players — and coaches — with set-for-life salaries. Then there’s the paying customer who couldn’t know he’d paid regular-season prices for a game Spurs coach Gregg Popovich treated like the preseason, regardless of how hard his subs played.

Fine, but show me the rule that states a coach must play, or dress, or even send all his players to the arena. Maybe there should be one. It would have been nice for Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginoboli, and old man (hardly) Danny Green to at least be in the building. But I can’t find the rule that says they had to be. And look, the schedule stinks — last of a 10-day, six-game road trip, fourth game in five nights and the Spurs play again Saturday against division rival Memphis. The Heat were off since Saturday. So what kind of competitive game did the league think it would get anyway? Probably not one half as competitive as the one they got.

And what if the Spurs had played the champs on national TV on Wednesday and Pop sent the gang home for the road finale at Orlando? Just a meaningless November game? Yep, we certainly wouldn’t be having this debate. Pop did what he believes is best for his team in the long run.

With apologies to Stern and, I suppose, the fans, until there’s a rule that states otherwise, Pop can manage his team as he sees fit.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Unfortunate for fans in Miami who paid big bucks to see the real Spurs. Unfotunate for TNT viewers who wanted the real matchup. But Gregg Popovich did his job. While the moral debate is a good one, his responsibility is to win championships. If he feels his actions Thursday put San Antonio in a better position for that end result, he should know. Popovich played within the rules. He had made similar lineup decisions in the past without being told he was crossing a line of integrity. He owes fans in every city something 82 times every regular season. But he owes Spurs fans the best chance to win a title. Anything less would be a drag on the integrity of the game.

John Schuhmann: I blame the schedule maker. Spurs and Heat on TNT sounds awesome at first. But when one team is playing its fourth road game in five nights and the other is playing just its first game in those same five nights, you’ve got a real potential stinker on your hands. Teams just aren’t as good when they’re not rested, and I imagine that the Heat would have won by a lot more if the Spurs played their tired stars.

I know it’s impossible to give each team a day of rest before every national TV game, but the discrepancy between San Antonio’s rest and Miami’s rest was too much if you really wanted to showcase those two teams on that particular night. The networks pay a lot of money for those showcase games, and it’s up to the league (via the schedule it creates) to make sure they’re getting the best of both teams.

So I guess I’m taking Popovich’s side here.

Sekou Smith: I’m siding with Pop this time and every other time in the future when he makes a decision on what to do with his team. And this has more to do with folks in the stands and board rooms always trying to do the coach’s job for him, be it in pee-wee football, college hoops, European football or the NBA.

Pop is the man in charge of his team, not me, you, Heat fans or anyone at the league office. Do I feel for the kid who’s never been to a game and showed up looking for Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and (to a lesser extent) Green? Sure. But this is as good a time as any to teach him that you don’t always get what you pay for.

Furthermore, to dismiss the Spurs’ reserves the way everyone did before the game was played is a disservice to the professionalism and competitive nature of the guys who did suit up. All of this moral outrage over him resting guys and sending them home is ridiculous and completely overblown.

Please send my “substantial sanction” to Pop in San Antonio.


  1. Him智 says:

    popoivch is a talented coach I have ever seen.Spurs almost beat Heats by subs players if is were not for the 3-points from Aron.

  2. Boris says:

    I don’t understand this 250k fine. If you came to the basketball game just to see the stars, then you shouldn’t have come.

  3. Ryan says:

    No Rule then no fine. Simple.

  4. Further more and other words... says:

    Phil Jackson wouldn’t even have pulled this one.. even if he came back to coach the LA Sparks as most wanted.. In this one you have someone that over thought themselves in a simple situation.. Play those guys for 5-10 minutes and sit them down. Now I ask you.. when they play the Grizz and those guys go down with injuries in the first two minutes, was it worth it??? Stern did it almost right, Pop should have received a fine too. Those guys are not better than the game by any means neither is he with his tenure as a coach.. Please stop in favor of Pop and decision he made, it was wrong.

  5. steve says:

    This is a joke waaaayyyyy overblown

  6. They don't get it... says:

    It’s funny to read most of the wrong way comments on here in that are in favor of what Pop did… You didn’t have these problems when there were teams running off X- amount in a row in the league that had schedules worse than the Spurs did… You have sissies these days complaining about about they should have taken the game off and trash like that.. The thing is we are in the first part of the season and people are in favor of what Pop did.. and don’t even play sports! The clowns that are against this fine, most likely never played sports! As Xavier McDaniels put it way back: “This is a league, a man’s league. I love the Spurs and all but to be realistic, they are not winning the championship.. You all know that. The fan’s make the league and it is not always about the old heads… It’s about them lil kids that came to see/watch the guy(s) that they hear mom and dad talking about.. Viewers= revenue

    • TG says:

      uh, I’d keep your opinion about who’s winning the championship quiet for now. it’s a wild one in the western as it always is and it’ll be wilder towards the end of the regular season going into playoffs.
      even in the east, I’d say Knicks and Nets will want to say something to the Heat. and maybe even Celtics if they get their act together.

  7. Dew says:

    Chris Webber makes a void point in the video posted here from Inside the NBA. Sure I’d want my money back for an ”Eminem” concert and if he did not show up. But this game wasn’t the San Antonio Eminem show was it? It’s not like San Antonio are the San Antonio Duncan’s, Parkers, or Ginobili’s. They are the San Antonio Spurs and I saw Spurs guys on the court in Miami. Real sports fans go to see their TEAM. No matter who might play. I’d put our bench guys up against any team in the league. They can play and usually do well most nights I watch them. So what if the Big 3 were gone. Leonard and Jackson were out too and those happen to be my favorite guys on the team right now. Sure the guys on the court were not ”superstars” by any means. However, they were a collection of some of the best talent around the world and give them credit for almost pulling one out there. Kenny Smith brings up the best point and said that it didn’t matter where that game ended up on the schedule.. The fact is, 4 games in 5 nights on the road. Doesn’t matter if it was Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, Boston, etc. He would of sat them against anyone on a schedule like that. If the NBA is going to get mad due to the terrible economy and try any way they can to salvage money out of the deal, either make a new rule or make a better schedule and perhaps in a heavy weight title bout such as this, do not put SA at the end of it and at the start of it.

  8. Dew says:

    Blowing this up is just a way to put Miami in the spotlight yet again. Anything to draw more attention James’ way. As a Spurs fan, I enjoyed watching the reserves of SA almost pull one out against Miami on their own floor. With that experience, I can feel good about my reserves playing along side of the stars next time and that they will do a good job. In baseball, star players get days off now and again also. I remember growing up being an Astros fan sometimes Bagwell or Biggio would get the night off in the middle of the summer. Or the road team would come in and I wouldn’t be able to see the visitors stars either. There were plenty times when stars didn’t come to town to play the Spurs here in SA as well and I’m not complaining. Not like they were playoff games. Due to a long season, and a grueling playoffs, I would rather see a competitive Spurs team at the end of the season than a wore out one. Our guys are not getting younger, however can be preserved for the moments that matter most to try and win a championship. To me that is more important than seeing a showcased game on TNT in which our guys due to the schedule would have not had much gas anyhow. Again, this seems to me just another way to get more publicity towards Miami or perhaps build the animosity between these two teams to create some drama when they meet again.

  9. Greg says:

    Why couldn’t they have sat on the bench in suits? Why did they have to be sent home when they were already in Florida? That’s what makes me think this wasn’t about resting players at all.

  10. Freida says:

    Sending the players home and not even sitting on the bench is wrong. They were right in Orlando. Orlando is not far from Miami. It is a business, not something the coach has a right to do. Are the four stars going to forfeit their salaries on last Thursday and not get paid? They didn’t work. So a business is a business.

  11. ceedog says:

    Maybe what the commissioner needs to do is……think about better scheduling, way to many back to backs.

  12. ceedog says:

    If i were a die hard spurs fan, and i lived in miami, and I paid hundreds of dollars for tickets, and it was the only time i could have watched my favorite team play live, and had this event circled for months, I would have been ticked with pop…but since i’m not a spurs fan i think the fine was TOO MUCH!!!

  13. Toms says:

    As a NBA fan, my major concern is if the game watchable no matter who were playing in the court. like this game of Spurs-Heat which is most watchable and educatable one for all of us including the NBA teams. You not only saw how the unknown players of Spurs to hand on and deal with the big 3 of Miami and almost beat them. This game also tell the world : The weakers can beat the strongers , Benches can do the big thing for their team. Under the inspired by this game, The benches of Lakers showed their strongest arms first time last night since they joined the Lakers. That is NBA spirit that should be developed and enhanced, Not punished. Coach Pop is genius and a good exsample for others in NBA. I wish NBA and Stern not to torture coaches and players for the money. More frodom and healthy concern for the human being.

  14. Ram says:

    I believe that David Stern was absolutely WRONG in his decision for several reasons:

    (1) There is nothing in the NBA rules stating that a coach cannot do such a thing. If there was such a rule, Popovich clearly would not have done it. If such rules want to be enforced going forward, that is another question.
    (2) The integrity of the game clearly was not at stake with Popovich’s decision. The Spurs bench demonstrated their potential to ultimately take the reins from the three aging stars. They were a pleasure to watch on Thursday.
    (3) The move shows how commercial David Stern and the NBA are, and show how integrity-less this league has become. Real basketball fans appreciate Popovich’s move, and view it as a wise strategy in order to advance the team’s success. If the team was not Miami and it was not a Thursday TNT game, no one, including David Stern, would have cared.

    Adios, David. Thanks for contributing to what the league is today, but your decision has lost fans, not won them.

  15. Basketball Fan says:

    I definitely agree with Popovich for resting his players because it is his teams so the fan and the league should accept his decision! If i was a true Spurs fan i wouldn’t get mad because i didn’t see Tony Parker, Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili play because i am not a fan of only those three players but of the entire team and the point of the game is to win or try everything to win regardless of whom is playing or not. Let’s say the Spurs won the game i am sure he league would’ve still fined the Spurs but any true fan would be happy with the win. The fact that those who were playing were pushing hard and did their best there is nothing wrong to that. Its not David Stern business on whether the stars are playing or not! The Nba should stop looking like a business to look more like a sport! SERIOUSLY!!

  16. Mladen says:

    David Stern decision is seriously undermining the integrity of the game and NBA. It seems that it is really the time for him to retire.

    Two reasons why NBA integrity is put in danger by mr. Stern:
    1. Money and fans are put above health of players and championship ambition of a contender;
    2. You cannot sanction someone based upon personal judgement – sanctions (and unwanted situations) need to be defined before they are applied.

    But even if they make this as a rule – it’s wrong. Nobody should interfere in the job of the coach. Spurs should refuse to pay the fine. If NBA insist on it, they should take this to court. For the sake of NBA basketball.

    Sincerely, NBA fan.

  17. Kent says:

    Some of the writers have based their points on the “integrity” of the game—saying that teams should always be trying their best to win.

    If this is an important value for the game, then the structure of the NBA should only allow for teams to be playing to win in the present.
    I don’t know how this could be done. But somehow the stakes would need to be high for teams to win each game.
    Maybe teams with bad records don’t get better chances for draft picks? Or maybe some other penalty simply for losing a game?

    In any case, the structure of the league allows for teams to decide whether they want to play to win now, or simply “rebuild” and intentionally be bad for several years. If integrity means trying to win now, then the structure of the league has already been designed in violation of that principle. Should Popovich be fined for behaviors that are allowed/encouraged within the league structure?

  18. OG.LAL says:

    Good job by David Stern i hope they will deduct this fine out of Popovich pay check.

  19. Me says:

    The only person that gets to revel in victory over this is David Stern. Enjoy that $250K that you now have stolen from said Fan’s as San Antonio has a proven track record of keeping their team and fans in pristine shape throughout the seasons.

    This was a bull move from Dictator Stern. Not in the very least surprised. ….

  20. Me says:

    The only person that gets to revel in victory over this is David Stern. Enjoy that $250K that you now have stolen from said Fan’s as San Antonio has a proven track record of keeping their team and fans in pristine shape throughout the seasons.

    This was a bull move from Dictator Stern. Not in the very least surprised.

  21. Federico says:

    Tim Duncan (as Kevin Garnett, for example) has been so on shape and reliable during last playoff runs ’cause his coach is so good at managing him. Good job commissioner, you’ve entered Spurs’s locker room for what reason? Pop doesn’t handle the team as you’d like? That’s HIS team, not YOURS.

  22. flyingA says:

    you guys dont get david stern’s and THE LEAGUE’S point.. imagine all teams in the NBA resting players based on who their opponent is.. imagine everyday, millions of fans hurrying home to see their favorite teams without two or three players because they are tired (haha).
    “is paul playing today?”, “WILL blake griffin play tomorow against the spurs?” — “i think the clippers will not play blake griffin because they might think tim duncan will play, and they dont want him to be tired of guarding duncan.
    get the folking point!
    scheduling games are done by software and considers all aspects of back to back to back to back, city to city, east to west, home and away, so stop blaming the scheduling thing.
    dont get me wrong, greg pop to me is the best coach in my time (same as phil j),,

  23. wink says:

    it’s a coaching decision yes it didn’t let the heat’s fans the opportunity to see all the spurs player’s it’s no different now then when the teams are getting ready for the play-offs when it really counts the 82 game season is to long now the last twenty or so games most are meaningless anyways as most teams are out of contention already they rest their stars for the playoffs anyway so what does it matter if one sends it’s stars home for a rest with fine money should go out to the fans as tickets are already to large for them to attend the games-

  24. pillclinton says:

    stern has no Regards to a players health ? fine stern? pop should lie about players condition to prove a point?
    wow its a business, a job, their being paid millions, millions to play basketball. some guys don’t even go full throttle untill its contract year. they know what they signed up for they veterans in the league nothing new to them. how about no practice for them not send them home so their faces dont have to be on tv sitting on the end of the bench not in uniform. pop is one of the most straight forward no bs guy in the league. he isn’t going to bs about health. the fans did get a good show it was a great game, even though miami was on Cruz control. spoelstra knew it, and he was elated pissed off that this wasn’t a blow out and knew it should have been. we should be questioning the scheduling not debating pop and stern

  25. Mayur says:

    I’m glad he’s retiring next year. Secaucus will be a much better city with out him.

  26. Jbjork says:

    Bottom line, popovich is the coach so i dont see why the spurs got the fine, sure the nba would like to se the best players on the team on behalf of the fans but in the end its pops decision who he wants to play and not to play, i mean the big three of the spurs are getting old so rest will be good for them but i for the lifr of me do not understand why the nba needs to interviene and fine them for a decision that isnt theirs, cmon Stern cut it out.

  27. pillclinton says:

    chuck was right, all the players in the nba can down right ball against anybody, its crazy when you go to a shoot around at a game nobody is missing a shot. i don’t know if the spurs would have looked worse if they just benched them at the game, but it was right for stern to nip it in the bud or it would start a trend.

  28. Bob says:

    Also, the media should stop even trying to defend Stern’s position, He is just wrong and y’all look like idiots too for defending him. The fans have spoken.

    • BFoulds says:

      Jeff Caplan, you are 100% correct, and the most conscious opinion listed. You stated 100% what I have stated on every site I’ve visted in regards to this subject!

  29. Bob says:

    Would somebody please fine David Stern for being an idiot.

  30. banana says:

    The fans actually witnessed a great game. If I went to that game I would still be happy. He should consider the situation on an individual basis. It becomes a spectacle in itself that the fans find interesting. The Spurs only lost by 5 points, you’re gonna fine the spurs 250,000 for benching their stars WHEN THEY ALMOST WON THE GAME WITHOUT THEM? Wouldn’t fans be excited about a team with an awesome bench? Jamison and Meeks played great for the Lakers last night, Stern should fine the Lakers 250 grand for that too, right? I would understand this if the Heat blew out the Spurs, but that didn’t happen, did it?

  31. sukol lachan says:

    David Stern, you are the one out of line. whatever a coach game plan is none your business, in Chinese old saying, use your bottom power to against enemy’s top line, use middle against enemy’s weakest, then use your top line to against enemy’s middle line, then you should won 2 out 3. probably, your brain is not capable to look into a coach’s plan. if i were the coach, i will demand you to apologize to all coaches, and wonder why you still have the job. then again, lucky you.

  32. strawberry says:

    David Stern is a retard. This guy needs to get off his high chair. Pop is allowed to do what he wants.

  33. jeff says:

    I hope from now on Popovic just says all his starters are mysteriously injured with whiplash whenever he wants to rest them

  34. gravatorblam says:

    It is not the job of the coach or players to be entertaining. The goal of players and coach is to win a championship. David Stern by putting entertainment above the game erodes the integrity of the game. What next award the trophy based on TV viewership? If I want to see fake sports I will watch professional wresting. It is not in the best interest of the game to play 6 games in 9 days – how about the league fining itself?

  35. bu says:

    Another point I wanna make is, Stern has absolutely no regards to the health of the players. We all know is a business so the owners need to make $. Look at last yr’s bk to bk to bk’s. Look at Spurs’ 5 games 6 nights. They only care abou the $$$ & not the well being of the players. They don’t care if players can easily get hurt when body is tired.

    From the responses here, I can easily see MOST fans commented here want to see good ball (not just heroic stuff by LBJ) as well as a real competitive game, not when lopsided or meaningless. I’m glad to see many guys here care for the players!!!

    Stern can say “well at least travel wl the team & play 10 minutes.” I’m a business traveler. Do you hv any idea how tired both mentally & physically is for this kind of traveling, flying everyday? Teams don’t even hv practise time under this stupid scheduling!!!

    Sterm will say, “you’re paid this much so tough luck guys!!” Well, if I’m Doc or Pop, I’ll rest my key players to go for my playoff run. I’ll simply fake some flu medical leaves & family matters,…,etc. & take 1 or 2 guys out. If you insist the traveling, fine, all the guys travel, but Duncan, Parker & Ginobli will be like Brian Scalabrine doing cheerleaders on the bench, after playing a few minutes.

    Another point about being paid that much should show up mindset is incorrect. Results matters. Top guys are paid to deliver results. If they get hurt because too tired, & not get the results, then wouldn’t it mean waste of resources?? Waste of talent???

    The issue is to create more & more good players so that there’re more interesting personalities, not just to focus on 1 or 2, like Stern’s grandson LBJ!!

    Lastly, if Stern keeps this up, he’ll probably set min minutes played for each player unofficially & penalize owners if they don’t. If he does that, I’d like to dare him do the 5 games 6 day trip himself wl the flying & just work out for 1 hour in the gym. Try it, & you’ll know how it feels.

  36. Trey says:

    Way to be diplomatic Stern. If your going to make up new rules you should at least give teams a chance to follow them. How hard would it have been to sit down with the spurs and express your concerns? The reason we still get to enjoy Tim, Manu, and Tony playing at a high level into their 30’s is because of Pops management of his players. Who are you to question that.

  37. Dewdrs says:

    Look I am unabashedly a Spurs fan, specifically because they don’t condone or coddle the drama queens in the league and they play the game the right way. Nobody would have wanted to see a lopsided game with tired Spurs players coming off a road trip with 4 games in 5 nights while the Heat have been resting since Saturday. In my opinion, the schedule makers did a disservice to the game for creating such a schedule. Stern employs and approves said schedule so Stern got a coaches reaction to the schedule and a need to preserve his star players to have a chance to continue playing into June for a Championship. As far as putting on the best product, the remaining reserves played one hell of a game and had a shot to win at the end, not because the the Heat played down to their level but because they are well coached pros. You notice Pop didn’t take the night off and worked the game coaching his players and just about pulled off the upset. A better game than if Timmy, Tony, Manu and Danny ran into the rested Heat playing on tired aging legs. If Stern and company are truly concerned with getting the best product out on the floor night after night then create the schedule fairly where both teams are coming into the game with similar schedules and then let the chips fall where they may. Pop has every right to manage his team for the long haul. Nobody wins a Championship in November.

  38. Shane says:

    What is the big deal? The COACH of a team made the decision to not start his players, for whatever reason. That is his choice that’s why he is the COACH! David Stern do you want to manage every starting lineup every night?????? This is no issue…..let the coach COACH!!!

  39. DBoss says:

    What’s ridiculous is the stupid comment about how he should’ve rested them in the Orlando game. Doesn’t that produce the same exact outcome? It’s unbelievable how biased the media and the NBA are toward the Heat. The NBA and TNT are just mad because it cost them money that they don’t need. Stern decided to screw the Spurs with this ridiculous schedule, so Pop decided to screw Stern. I know y’all in Miami, LA and New York like sex appeal. But down here in San Antonio we just want to win. With Pop we’ve won 4 championships (second to the Lakers) and have the highest winning percentage in the NBA.

    Oh ya, and it was actually a very entertaining game. It took all the Heat had to beat Los Spurs without our 6 best players. Our bench is better than half of the NBA. Stern needs to fine the Wizards, Raptors and Cavs for being garbage organizations and bringing an inferior product to the court every single night.

  40. juvz says:

    im so disgusted with david stern about this whole thing. i remember last year when the hornets is still owned by the league, they never played Chris Kaman. The hornets that time is already without their best player in Eric Gordon, plus they dont let Kaman played even though he is healthy. In my own point of view, the move they made last year is somewhat similar to this situation right now. i think david stern is abusing his power as a commissioner. He even halt the trade of CP3 to the lakers due to “BAsketball Reasons” but i think the real reason he stopped the trade because chris paul can make the lakers better because during that time the lakers only need a point guard to owned the west.
    I still love the NBA because all i want is the real excitement of basketball not the hidden agenda of the people running the league

  41. Mario Tikvic says:

    Another thing that shows that the nba is not really interested in the game, but more in money. Thats pretty sad i think.

  42. John Scholl says:

    David Stern is over reaching. Rhe coach has to so whatever is right for his team. Fans will go to the game whoever is not playing. I don’t think Sternwas hired to tell the coaches how to run their teams as long as they don’t violate the NBA rulebook.
    There is no NBA rule against resting players. Stern can n ot make up rules on the fly.

  43. patrickmarc says:

    POP was right at100 per cent.
    We live a dictature now

  44. Bryan Taylor says:

    I thought each NBA team was allowed only ONE HEAD COACH. Next time, suit them up and just sit on the bench. What would Stern say to that?

  45. mistersam says:

    nba facists

    supersonics, good example

  46. SweetPoison says:

    Do you guys think that Pop knew he would be sanctioned? Or do you think he thought nothing would happen?

  47. Coaches says:

    We won’t start any more of our usual starters until Stern apologizes and takes this back.

  48. Lebron says:

    If Stern doesn’t resign for this, Spurs is not going to play another single game.

  49. DavidSternisanidiot says:

    I think David Stern should be fined for stacking teams..Miami, Lakers, ect…. Stern is in it for the money and if a coach decides to not play some players, that is what he is getting paid for. I don’t watch pro basketball anymore because of how it is being ran by the refs and Stern.

  50. Budkuss says:

    They should of played their star players, only if they were hurt they should not play. They are getting paid good money to play basketball old or young!

  51. Youmelous says:

    Hi everybody,
    I just can’t understand many things around NBA these days!!
    I’m 110% with pop and what he did…Stern can go and retire, the league will be healthy again!!
    He and others want MIAMI to wing another ring…!!!

  52. tim johnson says:

    is david stern hitler . last time checked this is america. plus when they decide to play bascetball like it should be played not like the circus it is now days . play basketball like they did in 60s @70s

  53. Miami heat says:

    If miami heat did that..I am the one who suggest to fined 250k…that’s their job to play…if miami heat do the same thing like the spurs did..and they let all their superstar to take a rest and play only on March and playoff..???because they wanna win the championship…how come rasheed wallace and Kevin Garnett…they are old too…and sometimes they have a schedule like that how come they didn’t do that???and they want to be in the finals too???

  54. seko smith says:

    just finished reading mr smith post and i disagree with him. first of all players coach and owners work for the FANS. don’t for get also your little job at tnt or nba tv is supported by fans without fans coach pop would b coaching the spurs for free outside in a little park in texas some where. as for teaching a kid you don’t always get what you pay is wrong you fool most hard working people are still living in the recession so you would think they have the fans hard earned dollars in mind. what pop should have done was just let them play 5 min each half and call it a night

    • Shane says:

      That’s why America is in a recession……people shouldn’t buy a NBA ticket if they can’t afford it.

  55. Miami heat says:

    Nobodys thinking here….that’s the rules..everybody wants to win a championship…but u have to play because that’s their job,,,NBA paying them to play..if your superstar need to rest u should cut their playing time,,,or just play 10 min a game,,but not sending home and watch tv…the only thing that u can rest at home if your injured…but most of the injured player is still in the bench to support their team…the spurs have the right to manage their team but as long as they are not breaking the rules of the league…

  56. All of this moral outrage over Pop resting guys and sending them home is ridiculous and completely overblown. There you go.

  57. Jean-Michel Fortin says:

    It seems like that “integrity of the game” could transform players into slaves! Pop’s tryin’ to get is team to the best level and win games. If he needs to rest key players to do so, then let him do it!
    I believe the integrity of the game was lost the day money became so important that we would force players to play just because some TV chanel told them so. Because obviosly Stern has been “forced” by TNT to fine Popovich
    At least Sekou is smart enough to get on the right side of this discussion.

  58. sanix007 says:

    These guys get paid millions of dollars to play basketball and they are aware of their schedules. There is no police officer, firefighter or military personnel who can take off time after working 14-30 days straight after an unexpected emergency. These basketball guys signed a contract to play 82 plus games, and get PAID extremely well. Perhaps the coach should get fined a day pay of each guy salary that he decided to sit that night, as well as the players. In addition to all that, they have the best doctors, therapist, physical trainers, chefs, and other handlers to insure that they are comfortable and can endure a 48 minute basketball game for 5 consecutive games! And that should apply to all the teams!

  59. mike says:

    Is stern doing pop’s job now? It’s pop’s business who to play. He obviously made the good call and gave his team best chance to win by playing fresh legs instead of tired ones. The tired “starters” would have lost badly to a well rested heat. It’s a team game anyway, and sometimes, depending on matchups, your overall “best” players are not the best for a specific team or day. Proof of pudding is in the eating – pop’s team almost won the game, so he used the right people for the job. It’s absolute nonsense by stern.

  60. wooden says:

    it is about winning a ring. therefore a coach does everything he thinks is neccesary to achive that. if a person, who is not in the inner circle of the team plays a role on those kind of decissions, david stern could name the champion right away. if one player and his fan is bigger than a team and coaches effort winning a championship, i do not want to be in this sport anymore!

  61. Jackal says:

    I think it’s hilarious that they put every opinion agreeing with Stern up on top of the article, pretty much ranging downward from most on Stern’s side, then ending with the least.

    Obviously these dudes want to keep their jobs, but let’s not kid ourselves, this was a terrible decision by Stern. Everything about it was terrible. He come out and acts like he got slapped in the face because Pop rested his guy for a 4th road game in 5 nights (5th in 7 nights), against a team who was playing it’s FIRST game in five nights.

    And one of Stern’s terrible reasons for fining the team is because they didn’t let the Heat know they weren’t playing those guys ahead of time? Seriously? How much time does the Heat team and coaching staff need to prepare for a team? Five days isn’t enough? What next? Pop has to hand them his playbook too? He has to write out a long memo about his matchup plans, minute rotations, and inform them of every time he’s going to double team LeBron? -_-

    in the end, we all know why Stern’s mad. He figured this would be a great game to play Vince McMahon and schedule the Miami Heat a big win over the “hated” Spurs on national tv, but severely handicapping the Spurs with tons of road games in a row, ending in Miami, and giving the Miami heat the most rest days during a regular season in NBA history (outside of the all star break). Stern’s pissed because Pop said ‘screw it”, and just sent his guys home because he knew it was a borderline unwinnable situation.

    Like Schuhmann said, if Stern and the NBA really gave a damn about the quality of games, they wouldn’t schedule those games so lopsided in the first place. Almost every basketball fan I know calls games like that a “scheduled loss”, because of the fatigue factor and quality of opponent.

    Stern wasn’t mad the Spurs didn’t play their top guys and possibly win the game. Stern is mad the Heat couldn’t beat a tired Spurs team on TNT and make them look good while making the Spurs look weak. Mission for Stern, failed. And it cost the Spurs 250k to appease his stupid ego. Again, sounds a lot like a Vince McMahon/WWE storyline.

  62. Chris Heron says:

    This is so outragious, I’m not sure where to start. Everyone is forgetting one simple thing. This is about the financial impact of Pops desision. NBA players are conpensated extremely well for what they love to due. David Stern has done a great job of promoting the game of basketball, the main reason that contract have become so lucrative. One of David Sterns main weapons for growing the game is selling the superstars of the game to fans. It has worked wonderfully.
    I am considering taking my two boys to NBA game and would have to travel since we live in Vancouver, Canada and have no team. If I were to get to the game and see that the stars who I came to see perform were not there, it would make me sick to my stomach. If you believe in winning by any means necessary then this was the right move. But there are those of us who believe in the spirit of the game and play for the love of the game. WIN OR LOSE.

  63. Egor says:

    Are you kiddin’ me. Since when and under what law commissioner can teach coach of the NBA team how to play his team?

  64. Mark says:

    For me, theres no wrong about Povs decision. they admit that their OLD, and have a ver tough road schedules, so it was a right decision. u cant never blame Mr. Povs on his decision. and besides, it was a good game, the bench players of Spurs made this game great. if u guys concern to ur money to buy tickets for a game, then u find urselves upset with the Spurs Line, for me dont buy tickets and then watch. its all thats simple. u cant never blame for POV. he did right for his team. he was all concern for his team not to the fans :))

  65. Tal says:

    Since when do you go to games for players i go to the Knicks games in hope to see the Knicks win i went to a nj nets games in hopes to see a good game not a blowout i want to watch the sport of basketball not the players! the fine is ridiculous the nba is becoming so soft its ridiculous David Stern all i have to say to you 2014 couldn’t come soon enough

  66. tjenks318 says:

    I have a question for the people who agree with Pop’s decision. Would you think the same if on Christmas day Kobe, Melo and other superstars were held out because of rest? This was the 16th game of the season! !6 games within about a month is by no means brutal scheduling. Fans go to games to see the stars. These players get paid millions just to play a game for a couple of hours per night. Im sure when the players look at their paychecks they don’t feel quite as tired after the game.

    In my opinion it would be different if Pop decided to rest one maybe two players. But to rest four top scorers is disrespectful to the fans. Pop has been doing this for the past two to three years. But he usually only rests one player. I am a huge Tim Duncan/Spurs fan but Pop was wrong for this move. I do think the $250,000 fine was a bit too much though.

  67. Chase says:

    I wish Stern would just be honest about why he was so angry with this move by Pop. Pop and other coaches have been doing this for years, but now all of a sudden Stern decides its unfair for the fans? Either Stern just thinks the Miami fan base is better than every other city’s or there is really another reason, like TNT being angry about it. If Stern quit trying to act like he is looking out for all of us and just be honest I might have a little respect for the guy.

    Did this really come as a surprise that Pop made this move? With the exception of Green I saw this coming a week and a half ago. Come on Stern use your brain 6 game road trip and 4 of those games in 5 nights and a coach that is known to use this strategy and it came as a shock to him? Talk about thick.

    If Stern is so concerned about the integrity of the game then why doesn’t he fine teams for tanking to get better draft picks. Why doesn’t he fine teams for just putting a bad product on the floor night after night.

    I think Goodell was a little heavy handed with his punishments for bounty-gate but he is trying to protect the NFL from possibly crippling lawsuits. Sterns just worried about making sure his 5 billion dollar a year league doesn’t lose any money at the expense the health of the players, which would truly hurt the integrity of the game.

    All day I have been enjoying the media backlash that has come from Sterns comments. I just wish the spurs had won that would have made for some really interesting story lines.

  68. Nick PreZ says:

    The money isn’t even the big issue here. Just you watch (you won’t, but I will) how badly the Spurs get screwed on calls from the “non-biased” officials the rest of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how Pop reacts. Guarantee it happens. Guarantee its not covered by the networks when it continuously does. Also guarantee that this is FAR from over.

  69. Rickson says:

    i think he try to show the those guys how to fight hard with though so when is come to though team those guys know how to take care of it because those 4 guys know how to fight them already so i think the coach is smart thing to do..

  70. Ed Dennis says:

    Coach Pop fielded an NBA competitive team that made a game of it. There is more basketball integrity in Pop’s big toe than Stern’s pompous platitudes. If Commissioner Stern wants to provide a Heat/Spurs showcase quality product on national television he should mandate as much rest for the Spurs as his schedulers made for the Miami “TNT Poster Boys.” The Spurs set an all-time NBA record for away games when they beat Orlando… now that’s something that shows NBA integrity and a winning attitude… despite opting to rest some older players along the way. It is high time that fans, sponsors, and networks let David know that this “fine” day was much too “Stern” detrimental to raising the competitive level of world’s best basketball by micromanaging unsuccessful schedulers instead of successful coaches.

  71. Eric says:

    Last year Pop benched the same players in february against Portland during a nationally televised game. They didn’t get fined then… Why do the heat get special treatment? #FireSternNow

  72. Muhil says:

    line-up is the coach;s decision.
    he thought of making the bench playerws good.
    wat is wrong in it.

  73. matt says:

    Steve Aschburner is having a real little temper tantrum here. Nobody of any importance sees anything wrong with what Pop did, except of course for David Stern. February 2014 has never seemed soooo far away.

  74. Eve says:

    Pop clearly chose to target MEM game rather than MIA. Why? Playoff tiebreakers.

  75. Princess says:

    Pop should not be fined for resting his key players when they were playing 4 games in 5 nights. If Stern wanted to impose a fine, he should have had this rule in place before handing out the fines. If the coach is not concerned with the health and welfare of his players who will be? Certainly not Stern.

  76. Coach POP says:

    the root cause of this issue is the NBA games scheduling. NBA should minimize the back-to-back games and eliminate those 4 games in 5 nights schedule.

  77. elrich zulueta says:

    why would you react to that situation ,that even witout ther starter the spurs are giving ther best game ,infact the heat nearly lost that game even ther starters are complete……all the team have ther own decision.

  78. elrich zulueta says:

    why would you react to that situation ,that even witout ther starter the spurs are giving ther best game ,infact the heat nearly lost that game even ther starts are complete……all the team have ther own decision.

  79. Barb says:

    I think that this fine is crazy and the reason is because the Spurs did it and Stern hates the Spurs. If the Lakers or the Knicks or Miami did this it would not be such a big deal and nothing would be said of it. I am a Spurs fan and was dissapointed at first that the big 3 were not going to play but I still watched the game and it was great and entertaining. The Spurs have a great track record and had made it to the playoffs for the last 15 years and Coach Pop knows what he is doing. I don’t think the Comissioner is fair and does not need to make the Coaches decision.

  80. STERNRoids! says:

    And its not about the player paid to start at the game, This is also to let know that the Organization which is the Spurs Organization give a playing chance to the second Unit.. Still im having fun watching it yesterday even without TD, Manu, Green and TP because they showcase how talented players on their second unit. So what if Miami loss to the game?that’s another question to answer….

  81. FrancoG says:

    This is the most attention the SA Spurs have gotten in several years, including the championship years, go Pop. People are not realizing that two other key players were out also, Kwai and Jack. That’s 6 key players.

  82. Marcus says:

    Stern and the way the NBA has “developed” with Stern’s interference … is why I have not been to a game in over a decade and also why I watch a total of about 10 games on TV a year. Just send the Gestapo down to San Antonio. We know that Stern is far more knowledgable than Pops (ROFLOL).

  83. Ted says:

    Even if he rests all his guys for the whole year, it doesn’t matter! He will never win a championship again. The fine was just too soft. Make him pay 10 mil dollars so that he will learn. Next offense, let him pay 50 mil so he’ll never do that again. It is very disrespecting not only for the fans but also for the opposing team.

  84. rex says:

    I respect the coach’s decision. Im not a spurs fan but i respect the fact that they go into a season trying to win a championship. Alot of teams come into a season wanting to win a championship but dont do it. The spurs know what their ultimate goal is and they know what they need to do to accomplish that. They need fresh legs and healthy bodies to content in the playoffs. They like to look at the BIGGER picture.

  85. David says:

    The NBA is wrong here. They should not fine San Antonio. Very bad decision!!

    • David says:

      Just FYI: from Houston and like the rockets, now live and Denver and enjoy the nuggets. Being from Texas but not San Antonio I’m actually annoyed a lot by the Spurs, but this really is just bad business. Dumb move NBA!

  86. JP says:

    I paid for 4 tickets at $80 a piece to go see the Spurs against Miami. This was not a preseason game and I was expecting both teams to have their full lineups.

    I would not have attended this game at this price had I known that the Spurs were not bringing their best talent.

    $80 x 4: $320 + $80 for food + $20 for parking: $420 that I could have spent on something worthwhile.

    Fans got screwed. No way around it. A $250,000 fine for the Spurs sounds good but I this does nothing for me or my bank account.

    I will keep this in mind next time I think about watching an NBA game and even more when thinking of going back to the stadium.

  87. San Antonio has the right to run its team the way it wants to run its team. It seems they have an idea of what they are doing … a better idea of what they are doing then Stern does in his capacity. 2014 can’t get here soon enough.

  88. pete says:

    this is crazy! the players are human beings who need rest like the rest of us! 250k is outrageous, david stern should be ashamed of himself.

  89. Alan says:

    Is there ANYONE here supporting Stern??????

  90. Bill says:

    Pop is the head coach. He can choae who to play, when to play them, and when to send someone home. What if Duncan played the game and got injured, out for the year. is that what the fans want? No.

    Stern’s position and statement is ridiculous. No one and I repeat NO ONE is Miam is mad about not see the TD, Manu and TP. TNT is pissed because they paid money for a game that was supposed to bring ratings. It did bring ratings.

    Feb 2 is going to be the best day of my life when that ole man who is off his meds leaves. Once upon a time, he was good for the NBA. Now, he is just a joke. He continuously dictates competitive balance and competition from his office. His ego wont’t let him do the right thing and retire now. So he still has 2 more months to screw something else up.

  91. Walt says:

    David Stern is crossing the line as a commissioner for the NBA, point blank period, no wonder he got booed in Brooklyn. Remember the CP3 trade to the Lakers, he had to put a hand in and stop it. Im a fan of the game, a true fan, that means I don’t care who the hell is playing for my team. As long as there’s 5 guys in there playing wearing jerseys putting on a good fight for the W, I’ll still watch my team. David Stern’s opinion about “being a disservice to the league and our fans.” is all a big load. He blew it way out of proportion. First off it was a Heat game, most of the people there wanted to see the Heat’s “Big 3.” Second it was a good and entertaining game, the only reason the Heat won is cause Patty Mills left Ray Allen wide open from his bread-and-butter spot. The fans should know what they’re getting into when they purchase an NBA ticket, the coaches and players aren’t obligated to tend to any needs of the customers, they’re main focus is getting a win on the road, and winning a NBA title. Sometimes players can’t play for various reasons. It’s obvious to me that David Stern only cares about what’s going into his pocket from the NBA and its athletes by way of TNT’s endorsements and ticket sales, which by the way are ridiculous prices for the “elite teams.” A player doesn’t have to worry about getting any other type of endorsement, they could get that on their own. Pop’s decision was a one he probably debated a lot about, and I thought it to be a very strategic one at that. The only reason David Stern is having a power trip is because he sat out the players who are deemed “superstars.” Im sure he wouldn’t have said anything if Pop sat out Gary Neal, Nando De Colo, and Tiiago Splitter, all of whom put good numbers up against the defending champs. Every coach rests their players at some point during the season, it shouldn’t matter what part of the season, or which players they decide to sit. I support Gregg Popoviche’s decision. He did what he felt was right being the head coach. David Stern shouldn’t have a say in any coaches decisions, thats up to the owner. He should just stick to just handing out the Larry O’Brien trophy. He had a good run as commissioner and will be remembered.

  92. bald eagle says:

    If David Stern is so concerned about the image of this league, he might start with the officials. For too many years the title has been handed to the team that will bring in the most money. Yes, it is a business but anyone watching these games can see the refs changing the outcome on any given night. If I know that Kobe will get the foul called every time he goes to the rim, how can you guard him? So lets take it for what it is. 2 games to watch that night and Stern is mad that it was a bust controlled by Pop. Now the spurs will have to pay for trying to give themselves a chance at a title which they won’t win because of the refs. (Especially now.) The problem is can teams rest players later in the season? Anyone that has a problem with the ref issue tell me why Joey Crawford is still in the league let alone a ref at any Spurs game.

  93. Patrick says:

    So what about Rajon Rondo? Should he not be banned for 2 games because the fans payed to see him?

  94. Not David Stern says:

    Blinebury & Aschburner : great job toeing the company line!

  95. Eve says:

    So David Stern is basically telling the teams if you are being televised by a national program (TNT,ESPN,ABC) you have to play your stars no matter what your schedule was/is. So if that said team should play their star player and that star player gets injured then who gets the fault? That is the LEAGUE therefore the league should face “substantial sanctions” for this. Injury can happen at any moment, Pop and the Spurs know this and because of the schedule that they had they chose to sit out the BIg Three along with Danny Green. If this was against another team nothing would have been done. But because it was advertised as Lebron James VS Manu Ginobili, Dwayne Wade VS Tony Parker, Chris Bosh VS Tim Duncan the league is upset. Well arent all games advertised with a star player including pre-season games. Most star players don’t even play during those games in which they visit different cities yet nothing has been done with that. And if we are taking about “integrity of the game” then isn’t it worse to lose as many games for a better chance at the lotto worse than resting players for the sake of the BIG picture, a championship. Why don’t those teams get fined for the “integrity of the game.” The league is just angry of possible loss of viewers everyone knows Pop and he is unpredictable and cares about keeping his team healthy. If that isn’t integrity than what is lying that they all had the flu and had to fly home in order to get that rest. In the end the game was extremely competitive and fun to watch. The Spurs players who played are not being given any credit and it is completely disrespectful to them. The game is supposed to be about two teams battling not superstars. In the end that happened the Spurs and the Heat faced off.

  96. cdbro says:


  97. Lightning Lad says:

    Look at Steve Aschburner. With all due respect, you’re a joke, Steve.

  98. Miami heat says:

    For me stern is right,,,rules is rules…so if u broke the rules u have to face the punishment…and don’t be stupid every team has a 82 game so what’s wrong if spurs play 4 games in 5 nights..maybe next month They gonna rest and play 1 game in a week…and Miami maybe next month they gonna play 4 games in 5 nights too…so whats biased???every team has 82 games..u could say biased if miami play 60 games and the rest play 82 ……

  99. Bub says:

    Pop was like an overprotected father to his precious “childrens” and his own pride or whatsoever. Pop is the best coach so far, thou. he may have seen this one coming. fine him good. next please!!

  100. Eric says:

    I absolutely hate what Popovich did, with that said I wholeheartedly believe the SAS should not be fined a penny for what Pop did.

  101. Am I missing the point ? says:

    Bottom line is: It was a great game. Maybe that whole “resting key players” thing distracted some people…

  102. KP says:

    most of the people will not accept what Stern have done to Spurs. So, you should know who is right and who is wrong! if you get a vote. Stern will having a shame for what he did. but he can not take this back because it is a shame for him too. now, he got nothing right either way…….What a shame for him making story up. The only person in the NBA league is STERN, because only him have the right to change any thing he want……….

  103. Stern says:

    I apologize to all NBA fans. This was unacceptable that Rose, Rubio, Nash, Nowitzki etc are not playing. Injury is part of the game and not an excuse. Substantial sanctions will be forthcoming for teams who don’t play their injured star players.

  104. Genoa says:

    All this does is set a precedent that coaches can’t rest players as a moment’s notice. All this means is that non-injured players have to travel with the team and sit on the bench for 2 hours before being listed as DNP – Coach’s Decision.

  105. karkey says:

    sterns an idoit. end of story. pop has one obligation and thats to coach. let the man do his job, he has no obligation to miami fans or any other. he should have given rondo a 250000 fine along with suspensions, thats worse then sitting players if you ask me.

  106. euroschool says:

    Scott Howard-Cooper’s comment is comparatively short, but on the money. This debate here is about the integrity of the game itself (whatever and wherever the league or competition may be), and the business practices in place in the NBA and other major sports in the US. Even if the “spirit of the game” concept is too touchy-feely for the men in suits in the NBA front office (just like “teamwork” and “leaving EVERYTHING on the court” – things that San Antonio’s substitutes SCHOOLED the rest of the league in vs. Miami), they should consider that it is ultimately the true basketball fans, not the casual fans, that will decide how big their revenue is in the future. Casual fans come and go as the game’s percieved entertainment value comparative to other sports rises and falls. Fans of the game itself will be there in hard times as well, because they want to see team success first and flash second, they want to see good coaching and executed plays and fighting for your life on the court, rather than a certain number of superstars that you can take photos of from your seat and then show your friends on facebook. True fans got everything and then some at Miami’s AA Arena. Popovich is the best coach in the NBA. Do not alienate him and do not alienate the true fans with ridiculous measures and fines. Pop’s job is to lead his team to success, so get out of his way and start doing your own jobs. If you are really against resting superstars, then forbid it in every game – TNT or no, beginning or end of season, weak teams or title contenders. Get them to give you proof from independent medical staff that they are unable to play. If you are treating your most valuable employees as slaves, then say so – don’t sugar-coat it and use just one coach (Pop) as an example to the rest to be mindful of the league’s profits in deciding how much star players will be involved in a gruelling road trip.

  107. Peter says:

    NBA and Stern are cheaters and dictators. They try to use the players as slaves and make more money for them. When the stars were tired, do they still play like the stars? do the fans still watch the real stars in playing? NBA and Stern force them to play when the sstar are tired, they just use the stars’ figures to cheat the fans’ money. They are the persons violating the integrity of game. They are cheaters. They are the persons should be punished. They fine others without a rule but basing on their own pockets. They are dictators. Players and fans should stand up and boycott these dictator. Is USA still a free world? Whose free world?

  108. slick330 says:

    Stern has no business telling the team who they have to play, Wade was hurt when Miami played in Denver and they only play there once so is he going to fine the Heat for not playiing him. If the Spurs felt it was in the best interest of there players not to play them oh well Miami you will have to catch them on the tube or travel to S.A. to watch them. Stern needs to keep his nose out of teams business, they should appeal this fine

  109. Stiev says:

    This was a statement from Greg Popovich to David Stern. Pops could’ve rested those guys with a DNP, like all coaches would normally do as its the obvious move in this situation ; Facing a rough schedule, facing defending champs who will likely beat you with your star players anyways who happen to be older more injury prone stars, not to mention they’ll be facing the best team in the west this weekend who they’ll play a lot more than Miami between now and a potential 2012-13 championship title. Beating Memphis is priority in this scenario to intimidate the grizz, and to motivate his players. So resting a couple stars is understood….sending your top four players young and old, healthy and unhealthy home instead of showing face against the biggest ticket in the league? Pop was never one to entertain the fans or journalists, he is a basketball purest. So for this unforgiving stretch in their schedule, Pops made it loud and clear to Stern, who he knew would be in attendance, how grateful he was.
    Now for Pops this served not just as an opportunity to rest his stars but also as a chance to see what his bench was truly made of, and based on how the game went, I wouldn’t be surprised if his bench outperforms the majority of opposing teams’ bench till the all star break.

  110. Sup says:

    another bad move by David stern the nba should fine David stern for this move.

  111. BrooklynBrooklyn says:

    So that means playoff teams that rest there main players should get fined, too. Also, fined the teams that throw away games for better draft picks. The only difference is Pop rest his players earlier than later in the season.

  112. James says:

    Oh, one more thing to Stern: If you really care about the fans you would figure out a way to improve the refs. NBA refs are the worst in sports and they have been getting worse every year for the past several years. Why don’t you find a way to have them miss less calls and make more correct ones, such as more use of replay, challenges or perhaps using 5 refs instead of 3? And while you’re at it stop them from calling so many quick technicals when a player attempts to ask about a terrible call! Fans don’t pay to see the refs ref!

  113. NBA FAN AARON says:

    To the League Office: Listen to the fans on this blog and all the other feedback. The fine was out of line and wrong. No rule was broken. The product was good for that game, and we as fan enjoy the strategy of the sport season. The complaint you have here is in the amount of games/length of season and the schedulers. Coach Pop did the smart thing for his team, and quite franky the Spurs franchise is a highlight of your league. The fine is a punishment for degrading the NBA product- You say. When in fact, the strategy enhances the intrigue of your product. So, renounce the fine and publicly/privately apolgize for you poor decision making the the Spurs office and specifically Coach Popovich. Ohhh, and I would avoid any farewell trips to San Antonio this season, they probably will not enjoy your presence.

  114. John says:

    Wow! “Integrity of the game” getting a lot of mentions by the bloggers. “Integrity” apparently means following David Stern, the most corrupt and malign influence ever on the game of basketball.

    It really takes an astounding lack of integrity to dress up this rear-end kissing as defence of “integrity.” Who do you people think you are fooling? Or are you fooling yourselves? Go pick up your paychecks at the league office. I won’t bother to read your drivel again. Disgusting.

  115. Vexxed..... says:

    One thing more…. As far as scheduling is concerned I can see where you might say it’s the problem but… Last season should have been an example to all those coaches. They were force to play everyone on the team due to a lot of things last ‘shortened’ season.. but they don’t do it now that there are 82 games again?? That’s dumb. I bet J. Lamb would be seeing way more minutes than he is now, if he would have been in league last year…You wanna talk of resting players and whatnot let the extras play and Stars can sit and relax after couple of minutes of play if it’s a resting game. Now guys are back to getting that free check again.. Where as last year they earned it.

  116. anthony says:

    Pop can do whatever he feels is right for his team.

  117. Chris says:

    Well if Stern is punishing the Spurs, I think the NBA should triple the fine on the Wiazrds for impersonating a NBA team. The Wiazrds “do a diservice to the league and our fans” every night. The Spurs are one of the best franchises the NBA has. Stern ought to pay more atterntion to the really bad franchises that are really in trouble.

  118. James says:

    So Stern says that the Spurs did the fans a disservice by not playing their starters but he suspends Rondo for 2 games which is a disservice to the fans. Rondo should have been suspended for 10 minutes like they do in hockey. By the way, anyone that saw the Spurs-Heat game saw a great game that Miami was lucky to win, that Pop coached the heck out of and the replacements stepped up big time. These facts made for a much more interesting game.

    I guess Stern thinks the NBA is all about the stars and not the game. I sure am happy that Stern is retiring.

  119. Tim says:

    Obviously, the majority of NBA fans (Heat’s fans including) agrees with the decision of Popovich and does not agree with David Stern. Stern said that Popovich’s decision disappointed NBA fans but i think that most NBA fans are disappointing thatDavid Stern does not listen to the voice of the majority of NBA fans and still fines the Spurs!

    If the Spurs are devoted to be fined, how about the teams in the bottom of the leauge in every year always uses a bad roster in order to have a better opportunity to earn the first draft pick next year? Every year we can see the several teams in the bottom choose to lose the games as many as they can! Why they don’t be fined?

    Differently, Spurs’s change of the starter is not choose to lose, they just choose the way which most benefit for them. If the Spurs choose to win 1 game between Heat and Grizzlies, they must choose to win Grizzlies because the win% in the same conference needed to be count if two teams have win the same number of games at the end of the seasons.

    Stern’s decision is not fair to the Spurs, Spurs’ fan, Popovich ane even the rest of NBA teams because the FINE also gives a signal to other teams that they can not choose the rosters according to the real situation of the teams! I think David Stern’s decision makes people to have a bad image on the NBA and also it’s a black spot of Stern’s whole career of NBA!

    I do not think the SPURs needed to be fined, I just think Stern needed to be fined for his speech and he needs to apology to all NBA fans

  120. Vi Huong says:

    Where is the commissioner’s concern for the game’s integrity when he locks out ALL NBA players until Christmas??? All he sees is “dollar signs” which he nicknames as “Integrity” . He is pissed that his game could not compete with the NFL’s game, again dollars. But as a spurs fan I can safely say that my satisfaction is linked to how far the spurs get in the playoffs not how they go about doing it. The game’s integrity lies in the pursuit of championships, to do anything that would compromise that purpose is a fault. For Popp to think that his decision would satisfy even 90% of the sports world would be absurd. As for those who bought tickets and were dissatisfied?? Life will rain a lot more sorrow than not seeing your “superstars” on a given day, take out your umbrella you are the 10%-ers.

  121. Benjamin Keller says:

    Dear NBA, Please let the coach do his job. It’s his decision. He is the one who gets fired and not you when he doesn’t achieve the goals set by the owners.

  122. Vexxed..... says:

    The funniest thing about these blogs for Pop is…… These players knew what they signed up for at the start of their careers! I swear the fans made the league, he could have easily played those guys for 5-10 mins.. simple as that. He was wrong in that approach from jump. What about those who wanted to see Duncan and CO. get down against the Heat? (myself included) I’m a long time Spurs fan and love to watch James and CO. get down with good competition. Hell the Heat took a night off against the Spurs.. they just happened to play. Now when they play say a Detroit when those minutes are back up and Duncan gets hurt in the first two mins. was it worth it? The fact is there were ways around all of it, including getting your ORG. fined a quarter mil. . Pop should get a fine too! The lesser teams can’t help what they put on the floor for however long they’re out there. Spurs could and can, just chose wrong moments to do it :via the coach. Lol skip a few days of practice! You run the same plays and watch film…

  123. Deneice evans says:

    The problem I have with this is these guys make BIG TIME MONEY every night they need to be ready to go to work unless they are sick, hurt or a family emergency. Too old does not count; if they get the pay they must play. Oh my God, they need some rest; Rest when you are dead. I know guys that play basketball every day for free. I paid top dollars for my tickets; therefore, I wanted to see top competitors, all star players, key ballers, and top contenders. We all know that when different playoff teams play each other the tickets cost a lot more. Not One, Not Two, but Four players at one time…. NO SIR!!! NO SIR!!! VERY WEAK MOVE from Gregg Popovich

  124. bball says:

    SA players are not 23 years old….
    the success of this team relies a lot on managing their athletes well.
    There should have been no punishment whatsoever, because there is no rule about benching players on broadcasted games.

    Manage the schedule better if you want to showcase this game, don’t blame Pop, he is the one globally recognized as he who knows and does his job well. I am sure Pop would love to show off his TEAM against the Heat, under the right circumstances. Note that Spurs like a lot more ready right now than Heat do,

  125. Brendan O'Connell says:

    I’m sorry, are we supposed to feel sorry for Miami Heat fans? I’m pretty sure their team just won a championship. They’ll get over not seeing Tim Duncan one night. They’ll get over it because like every Miami Heat season, it won’t matter until the playoffs. The notion that resting veteran players to avoid injuries is immoral or lacking integrity is just stupid. Please NBA, do not turn into college football where money dictates everything- you’re going to make a ton of money this year. This one game is inconsequential. I’m sorry you continue to hate the small market Spurs for not being flashy enough and god forbid they let the Big Fundamental take a night off at age 36, but Timmy and Popovich have won four titles together for a reason. It’s not Showtime, it’s solid team basketball. And their bench played a hell of a game.

  126. spurs fan 101 says:

    i believe we should all come together and raise the $250000, send it to the spurs and see how stern likes it when we cant afford any merchandise because were too busy doing the RIGHT thing! this was inexcusable

  127. aaron says:

    gotta agree with Steve Aschburner on this…the game is for the enjoyment of fans…teams pay u alot of $ to go out and play…so your tired? gimme a break you get millions to play a SPORT!! get over it….by doing this you basically give the finger to everyone who wanted to see a great game on TNT, in Canada, and any spurs fan in attendance who like me, would have loved to have seen parker, one of the leagues best PG’s play against the Heat. Ppl can make excuses but this kind of action does a disservice to the very people you are paid to entertain

  128. AnnoYouLater says:

    this is so stupid…i dont get in any way why is it wrong to do decisions on a team when you are the coach…
    he explained it pretty well that they had a long trip of road games and that their key players(3 of them 30+yrs old) needed to rest…if they force things happening like this…prepare for more injured players to come…

  129. Come on!! says:

    Pop just cares about winning. He rested his players so that they would be in condition for the next games. It’s not Pop’s job to entertain the fans. His job is to help his team win.

  130. LOL says:

    And What if MIAMI loss in that GAME STERN?

  131. David says:

    This fine is Stupid. I know its David Sterns best interest to make sure whats on the court is top notch however you do not need star players to do that. If Pop got fined now does that mean if the Heat decide to rest Bosh Wade and James at the end of the season Heat will get fined? Teams do it all the time near the end of the season I dont really see the difference in doing it now and later on in the season.

    Its a coach’s job to protect their players, and use them to their full potential. Pop is doing that, by resting them on the 5th game on the road out of 4 it provides them with rest so they can provide better. I think Stern over reacted, just coz its the Heat they are playing. WOULD HE FINE POP FOR DOING THE SAME AGAINST SAY THE BOBCATS OR THE WIZARDS? I highly doubt it.

  132. R U Kidding Me?? says:

    Stern is an absolute moron in this as is anyone who thinks he did the right thing. Since November 21st, the “Great & Powerful Heat” had played exactly TWO games before last night – both at home. In the same time span, the Spurs played 5 games – including a back-to-back on Sunday & Monday and the game in Orlando the night before.
    So, you have the reigning “Chumps” on a 5 day rest and the Spurs on a 6 day- 5 game gauntlet. Pop had every right to rest them. When the majority of players & NBA personnel say they have no problem with Pop’s move, why does Adolph Stern feel the need to stir this up? Cuz he’s a control freak who can’t stand those who appear to question his authority. Had situations been reversed and the Heat done this, he wouldn’t have said “boo”. Spurs got punished because they were looking ahead. Why should Pop play his team tired against Miami and then have to go home and risk losing again 2 days later? This game is about winning and the Spurs are always looking at winning it all.

  133. Jay says:

    Everyone pays to see the stars on the court. To be told less than 2 hours before tipoff that the top 4 players were sent home to rest would make a true basketball fan upset…especially when you take into account most of them bought their tickets days/weeks in advance. To add insult to injury, the Spurs only visit Miami once this season! Furthermore, to not play them against the reigning NBA Champions is a slap in the face of Miami , basically saying “our next game against Memphis is more important”. Putting aside the fact that the game was competitive, this fine is well deserved. The playoffs are 5 MONTHS away. Now if it were 2,3 weeks away, my opinion would be different.

  134. Mtking05 says:

    I don’t understand the logic of what stern is doing. The miami fans paid tickets to see lebron, wade, and bosh.

  135. Teocadista says:

    I think he did the right move for the team. He is the best coach ever to cach an NBA team. Also, the team that played versus the Heat almost won the game and it let us know that the Spurs can play with or without the elite three perfectly fine. This makes an even stronger team to beat with a lot of variables to use on any game.

    Stern’s decision to fine the Spurs was just an horrible immature decision. It let us know that the NBA is all about money and not the game of basketball. It let us know that this is all about an player image and not an team image. On football, Real MAdrid, FC Barcelona, and other teams around the world in any sport do this kind of decisions (rest players, see what other variables he can count on his team, etc…) This makes me think that NBA is all about money, and not basketball.

    This is a disgrace for basketball,..

  136. JC says:

    The fine is right the fans are the most important part of the league. He is sticking up for the ticket purchaser who spent hundreds if not thousands for that game who were expecting 2 of the top 5 teams in the league go to battle and ended up seeing a teams full of bench players.

  137. Chris says:

    I just hope that Pop puts DNP – Old for Duncan again as the reason. LOL!!!

  138. Ivy says:

    What has the NBA become? The Harlem Globetrotters? The Spurs were competitive even with the starters gone. I would be curious exactly which guideline(s) they violated. Or did they just upset the “commissioner” and I use that term loosely, I think dictator is more apropos.

  139. Chico says:

    Extra respect for Sekou Smith now. I agree 100% with him(I said something very similar to that on other article).

  140. Al says:

    I don’t care what anybody says: It is a marquee match up and we the real fans look forward to these type of games. If I’m paying to see the Spurs big 3 against the Heat big 3 then that’s what I expect to see as paying fan.These players get paid millions of dollars because of the fans. I agree with the fine, the Spurs have a schedule if he wanted to rest players why didn’t he do it with Orlando a team not expected to be in the playoffs? These teams meet only twice a year and not four times is not like a fan could just buy a plane ticket and go watch the Heat play the Spurs at San Antonio the next time they play.

  141. Whitney says:

    I just can’t believe Stern. Pop knows exactly what he is doing. He is taking care of his main players, 5 games in 7 nights. Who wouldn’t be tired? Even when the Manu, Time, Tony, and Danny don’t play the SPURS TEAM is STILL capable of beating ANY team in the NBA. Look how competitive the game was throughout all 4 quarters. Let fans be upset, who cares. All everyone is doing is hating on the Spurs. Get over it. He’s the coach, and he knows best for his players.

  142. Andro says:

    Why do rules exist at all? If you don’t follow them, you get fined. If you follow them, you get fined.

  143. Andro says:

    Very disappointed. Coach should be able to do his job.

  144. uoykcuf says:

    meh, If the spurs win, then we won’t have this discussion. Pop rest his starters in order to have a better chance at the chip. Nothing wrong with that. And the schedule is horrible, 4 road game s in 5 nights? I feel for the heat ticket holders but still.
    IMO No fine, nothing. end of discussion.


    Poppovich actions is a BIG DISAPPPOINTMENT to the SPURS NATION, SPURS FANS in MIAMI!! one of the most awaited match in MIAMI!!! TOOOOOOO EARLY FOR RESTING!!!

  146. Charles says:

    Stern is a joke!!!!

  147. Terry Scanlon says:

    Coaches are not in the business o=f satisfying TNT, or the League office, or …
    No reason AT ALL for them to be fined. Had they won – which they came OH SO CLOSE to doing,
    would the NBA NOT have fined them???

  148. Jonhuggs says:

    I guess they need to fine teams like the Wizards, Bobcats and Magic, etc… for the joke of a team they run out there every game

  149. shane wilson says:

    The issue here is simply that there is not a clear “rule” about how a coach can or must use his players. Due to the fact there was not such a rule in place, fining the Spurs $250 grand is a subjective temper tantrum of David Stern that borders on Despotism/Communism. I have been concerned for a long time that the NBA and D. Stern are overstepping their bounds and authority. How would your feel if you were fined, not for violating an existing law, but simply because the local police chief didn’t like the way you “decorated” your house or something like that? This is what is happening here!

  150. Monta says:

    The league is stupid for this fine. Playing at such a high level at such a small period of time, has a high risk for a major injury. Pop was right.

  151. J23 says:

    Charles Barkley’s commentary was worse than the game itself.

  152. afroflare says:

    The coach has the right to rest his players, so Stern should stop complaining, the game was competitive. Players are not machines they need rest, if any of those players had got hurt you guys will all be crying now.

  153. theking0522 says:

    I think the Heat should do the same. Let’s rest Lebron, Wade and Bosh vs OKC in the Christmas game. Let’s rest them against the Lakers in January and let’s rest them in ALL national televised games. Let’s see if these same fans that are defending Pop would defend Eric Spolstra. The Heat doesn’t need to win vs the top teams to make the playoffs so rest Lebron, Wade and Bosh against the elite team so they are “fresh” for the playoffs. Every elite team should rest their stars on national televised games. Let’s see what people think about bench players playing

    • slick330 says:

      As far as I am concerned if I never saw Laboob play it would be to soon. Stern kisses his _ _ _ . Just tell me that the BOOB wont play on national TV then I would watch the the game but when the Heat play on TV I watch other shows I cant stand to watch him play. I wish he would blow his knee out and end his career

  154. Jason says:

    If the SPURS win a title this year, DAVID STERN will be booed in San Antonio

  155. Jason says:

    If the SPURS win a title this year, DAVID STERN will be booed by San Antonio

  156. Doug says:

    This was long overdue. The Spurs organization has notoriously done this for years, albeit less blatant. The Spurs pull something like this every season in the weeks preceding the playoffs when they they have the excuse of a long season, etc. And it has always surprised me that Pop, who is a hard-nosed coach, would do these tactics. But he has. Coach Sloan would never have done this with players such as Stockton and Malone. The Spurs went too far this time in coddling their players. Kudos to the league for finally taking action on it.

    • Vi Huong says:

      Stockton/Malone never won a championsip

    • Nick PreZ says:

      So, did you complain when the Grizzlies tanked the end of the reg season a couple of years ago to get the 8th seed to play the Spurs? What’s the difference? And WHICH situation is REALLY detrimental to the integrity of the league? SMH, baaaaa, all of ya.

  157. bu says:

    Stern, u’ve done marvelous job of building up the league. It is to a point now all those in NBA are your slaves. You’re like Hugo Chavez. Look what u did to the Celtics (vs Heat) last playoffs. 4 technicals in a row???? No foul on Wade on the last play on Rondo???

    u know Stern, I’m more happy to see the Celtics lose in a valiant fight like this than the Heat winning the champs. u’ve done well to create the drama. I’m not the kind who just want to watch superstar heroics. I like good team ball.

    If i were u I’d start educating the fans about team ball. That’s how human kind progress a lot faster with team work, not be individuals!!!

    Now on Pop, u can do whatever u like coz it’s yr turf. Like those who said “fans paid for it & u hv to deliver.” Unless u changed the rules or find some other ways (eg. 2 quick techs every game for Pop) to get rid of Pop, he’ll keep doing things in the best interests of the team. Spurs paid him & he’s just doing his job, & doing a damn good job like some of the guys quoted above.

    The scheduling problem can be avoided if you simply extend the regular season a little, then hv your scheduler / schedule software changed. Problem solved.

    u’ve got me rooting for Pop & Spurs now. They’ll kick the butts of the Heat so the drama u tried to create will not work.

    Lastly, why do u hv people do “moderation” on posting here? Is it just for the foul language or for something else?

  158. james says:

    who is running the nba? mr. krabs? because all i hear is “money. money, money”

  159. Aram says:

    Ok, so WHO made the schedules?

  160. Crazy says:

    I want my money back for the next 2 Celtic Games…I paid to see Rondo and the league suspended him.

  161. Jim wesseling says:

    Stern is an idiot. He has been pushing this league into being an inferior business for years. He needs to be fired. Hopefully, the owners will get rid of this dillweed.

  162. henriquepgomide says:

    There’s no logical argument to punish Spurs Team. To me, there were two main reasons that justity his decision:

    1) Spurs stars injury prevention. There are injuried players already, and the Memphis game seems to be more important.
    2) Raise Spurs bench experience against a championship contender. In the last Playoffs, the bad performance by Spurs bench players was an important factor do conference final loss.

    If NBA wishes to see stars players always playing, the league has to change it’s schedule rather than punishing a team in a non rationale fashion.

  163. henriquepgomide says:

    There’s no logical argument to punish Spurs Team. To me, there were two main reasons that justity his decision:

    1) Spurs stars injury prevention. There are injuried players already, and the Memphis game seems to be more important.
    2) Raise Spurs bench experience against a championship contender. In the last Playoffs, the bad performance by Spurs bench players was an important factor do conference final loss.

    If NBA wishes to see stars players always playing, the league has to change it’s schedule rather than punishing a team in a non rationale fashion.

  164. robert r says:

    coach pop has now forced every star to play at the end of the season because” the fans paid good money to watch the stars” whether it’s game 1 or game 82. stern is full of it! he didnt say anything 2 years ago when memphis “rested their stars” so they could lose games to get the 8th seed and play the spurs.

  165. LGW says:

    David Stern has always been a self-serving narcissist and this just continues that style. I hope the Spurs refuse to pay the fine and that the player’s union supports them. What a joke!!

  166. Stern just showed his true colors…and that’s too himself. He already established he doesn’t care about the players or coaches. The emperor makes decisions based on his feelings, not the facts. He is only interested in marketing, not competition. Pop did the right thing sitting this players. It happens all the time in baseball, which isn’t as physical a sport as basketball, yet has just as grueling a schedule. What a dope…can’t wait for him to move on. Basketball will be better without him and his huge ego.

  167. katemyo says:

    what if teams like washington,pistons,bobcats,kings,etc….rest their star players every now and then to manage their players(tanking) the nba wuold be very ugly…if pops wanted to rest his players he should let them play 3 or 5 minutes then bench them…the lakers let bryant play inspite of injuries just to satisfy the fans..if you want tomanage the playing time..manage it on the court…healthy players who are not allowwes to suit up in a game should be deducted with their salary

  168. Chester says:

    I agree with Pops on this one. 6 road games in 10 days and 4 in 5, that is absolutely ludicrous, regardless of how old the team is. Last I checked, the NBA didn’t require injury reports or depth charts for each game. Stern needs to get over it, the ticket says Heat vs Spurs, not Lebron vs Tony Parker. I’m sorry his feelings were hurt. By the way, the controversy made me (not a fan of pro basketball) actually watch some of the game. The Spurs team on the floor showed more hustle than I’ve seen in a regular season NBA game in years.

  169. Sword says:

    Sterns decesion to fine the Spurs is uninformed in that the Spurs fans were impressed by a great coach and the fans saw a great basketball game. The second and third strings got valuable playing time and experience that will pay off down the road. The Heat will be better beacause thet were caught of guard. Sterns decision, not Pops, makes me want an apology from Stern for this disservice to a great organization and coach. Stern is old, out of touch, and needs to leave the game. Or, fans will start to leave the game with unfair fines and decisions like this one. Dissappointed in Stern!

  170. Doremon says:

    first stern rigs playoffs, dictates who wins championships, vetos trades, and now this?

  171. TheReality says:

    Pop took a stand against this obvious bias against the Spurs. Heat had 4 days rest to prepare for the Spurs and only played one game in over a week and a half. While the Spurs had the worse schedule in the NBA. 11 road games in 17 games. 4 games in 5 nights. He finds it fair to give the Spurs this cruel schedule and then have them face the Heat in Miami after they had practically a week off but to rest his old players (Duncan and Manu are 34 and 36) before having to play yet another game on Saturday against the #1 Grizzlies is somehow punishable?!? Let the best coach in basketball coach his team and you worry about dictating the NBA. Pop hasn’t missed playoffs in 15 years and won 50+ each of the last 13 seasons with 4 rings and 2 coach of the year awards. And to make Stern looks even more foolish the Spurs actually led the entire game and almost won without SIX (6) of their top players. Stern your time as commish is over. Go away and shut your mouth.

  172. Real problem is $$$ for TNT says:

    1st – he didn’t break any rule
    2nd – If the game were against the Washington Wizards nobody will give it a damn
    3rd – Hope the league fines the Heat and other teams when they rest their players the lsst games of the season, as they did the past seasons

    Stern is a dictator !!

  173. this is just another example of why stern will not be missed here in san antonio he has the schedulers have the spurs play 11 count em 11 games on the road in november so when pop decides his older stars need a rest stern pouncees on the spurs like he pounces on a leg a lamb at dinner stern is not only wrong he is dead wrong in this decesion

  174. Michael says:

    David Stern and the league has over steppeed it authority!! The Spurs goal is to win a Championship not fill seats in Miami. So if the Spurs did this in New Orleans it wouldnt of mattered. Let the coaches coach and let the league bumble the lockout and sell popcorn!!!

  175. Popovich did the right thing, that way is one of the best coach of the league.
    Superstars and great players preformed at they best with great coach………like Popovich.

    Big fan of basketball

  176. CARMEN says:

    So glad D Stern is retiring – he is a little, little man.

    Props to Pop for putting his team’s health and welfare first!!!

  177. wayne says:

    TNT’s promotion was “the Chuckster” being at courtside. If Pop sent him home, TNT would have an issue. Pop even answered his questions respectfully.

  178. Lavan says:

    Every coach has a right to govern his team as he pleases. Pop’s move was completely understandable; winning the Championship is the ultimate goal and it supersedes a single win (while risking injury playing 4 games in 5 nights).

  179. lizzie says:

    unprofessional on every level.

  180. wayne says:

    Sanctions? He increased viewership, increased national attention on the NBA, became the lead and promoted story on every sports channel. increased traffic on Spurs, Heat, and NBA websites, and gave the bloggers something to pontificate about to increase readership. Any press is good press. He should be rewarded.

  181. EP3 says:

    Stern should stay out of the teams business, it’s the coaches job to know whats right for the team. The fine is totally outrageous, Stern has his head a place I cant mention on here. Stay out of it Stern

  182. Matt says:

    Because of David Stern’s Decision, I will not be watching any more NBA game’s this season, I very rarely watch the NBA as is. The players have a right to be heathy and to play 4 games in 5 nights runs the risk of having players get hurt, which does not help the NBA if their star players are hurt… Wake up David… Health is more important than League Image…

  183. Charles Reaces says:

    If the commissioner feels that he needs to make coaching decisions, he should take a coaching job. Otherwise, let the coaches coach.

  184. TRS says:

    Coach has the final decision on the team’s composition period, David stern should mind his own job, Basketball is a team sport and stop rating players as stars vs non stars, all players are professionals and try to win. The game was competetive and heat almost lost. The coach wanted to give his bench a chance and it is his decision. If you want to pay for a star stop watching team sports like basketball and football and instead watch individual events like Tennis and Golf.

  185. Kobe says:

    Ticket holders in Miami will get over it. They get to see 3 superstars play every home game. Idk why people are so upset about it because it was a Miami-Spurs game. If you should feel sorry for any ticket holders it should be when coaches rest their stars against sub par teams. Those people probably buy those tickets just to see Lakers, Spurs, superstars on the court but no one complains about the ticket holders when star players are rested for those games. When you buy a ticket for a game, you should know that those players might not be playing. It doesn’t matter if it’s Miami-Spurs or Magic-Spurs.

    David Stern is just complaining now because he got calls from TNT or whoever had the rights to this game ranting about ratings. Coaches should be allowed to run teams not David Stern

  186. chitown says:

    it was 4 games in 5 nights. I would rest my lineup because thats a lot of grueling basketball to play. Especially when you have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, and Stephen Jackson who are old and can’t risk getting injuries. Tim Duncan is surprisingly healthy and to play a schedule like that, I wouldn’t risk having him get hurt or tired.

  187. Thingol says:

    It’s defintely the schedule maker who is to blame. The Spurs and Heat are 2 of the top teams in the NBA and if two top teams play against each other they should be equally rested. Of course it’s bad for the fans not to see Duncan, Parker etc, but Popovich is responsible for the health and the success of his team, so it’s his desicion who plays and who does not. I might add here that I’m a Heat fan.

  188. hboyter says:

    Stern should apologize to the fans for his unprofessional hissy fit. The Spurs broke no rules and Stern’s hissy fit should be directed toward his team which creates such a stupid schedule. If Stern is troubled, create a rule and then get ready for NBA doctors to examine “game flu” and “game aches”. Stern should create more days off by scheduling more day/next day double headers to eliminate travel days. No team like Miami did this week should have that many days off and if you want a big TV game, both teams should have a day off before or both play the day before.

  189. Great Game says:

    What blew my mind was how Pop managed the game. Every time the Heat went on a run and looked like they were going to pull away, he called a timeout and the Spurs went on their own run to regain the lead. It wasn’t until the last minute or 2 that the team was unable to perform. He probably should have called a timeout at around 1:30 or so when the Spurs play started looking a bit erratic and they still had a lead, but maybe he didn’t do it to test his players…

  190. AJ Mills says:

    Fran Blinebury makes a great point about tiered pricing. Just taking my home team (GSW, which is probably cheaper than many) as an example, cheap seat tickets to for a Bobcats game could be as low as $10, while the for the Lakers it would be at least $60. That is hardly an insignificant difference, and it’s ludicrous to try to ignore the business aspects of the league. Of course pleasing fans isn’t going to be Pop’s highest priority, but ultimately he doesn’t have a job without us.

    However, my real question is this: did he have to sit four starters at the same time? The fact that he took ALL of the stars out to rest at the same time (for what should have been a marquee matchup) shows that this wasn’t just a coaching move, it was a big f**k you to the league, especially those in charge of scheduling. Sure, Pop has a right to take care of his aging team, but let’s not pretend this is only way he could have done it.

  191. chandler says:

    there are no rules against what he did. stern has wayyy to much power in this leauge

  192. Neutral says:

    I do not think David Stern need to apologize to all NBA fans because of Popovich’s decision BUT now i think he need to apologize to Popovich and all Spurs’ fans because of his unreasonable speech!

  193. Popovich says:

    Hopefully the players/players union stand up for their rights to sit out a game if them and their coaches agree on it. Stern is a dweeb. The NBA wouldnt have to worry about corporate sponsors if they actually knew how to market their stars.

    And disgruntled fan, your ticket is to see the Spurs and Heat not to see LeBron and Duncan. A game involving LeBron, one of the most dynamic/exciting players of all time and we are complaining we are not seeing enough star talent on the court.

    What happens when the Bobcats play the Wizards? Do fans that show up get free tickets and Applebees gift cards?

  194. PopHater says:

    One more thing; make no mistake – Pop was thumbing his nose at the league (Stern) for the lousy schedule they have had this month. Sitting Danny Green just confirms that. Stern doesn’t like to be called out. If there is anybody in the game big enough to do it, it is probably Popovich. I don’t think squashing any and all opposition should ever be encouraged.

    The Spurs always play a ridiculous road trip in February, because their rodeo claims the arena for a couple of weeks. Knowing that is on the schedule automatically, there is no reason why the Spurs should have a second Rodeo Road Trip in their season. It’s either intentional, or very sloppy. So, yeah, Stern – this bird’s for you.

  195. Ethel Lea says:

    I support Pop’s decision! Where was the integrity of the game or concern for the fan last year during the lockout. I’ve gone to a game to see michael jordon play and he sat it out and he was not injured annd it was the beginning of the season. Nothing was said then. If I had Stern’s address I would send him a dollar in support of pop and help pay this rediculous fine. I would hope every true basketball fan would do the same. Let the coach coach the best he knows how!That is what gives us great games. Let,s take a look at these schedules and make them fair to all teams.

  196. PopHater says:

    I’m no Gregg Popovich fan, because I detest the way he behaves in interviews. But you can’t deny his abilities as a coach. I seriously doubt that with LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in town, there are many people going to games to see Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili. They may come to see the Heat play the Spurs because it will be a good game. But you can’t seriously suggest that what you saw last night wasn’t a good game. Stern has cultivated an environment where people can forget that basketball is a team sport. He WANTS it to be about a few stars. But, honestly, if the Spurs Big 3 are such superstars, why aren’t Nike, Gatorade, and others lining up to put them in commercials? Stern shot his mouth off before thinking. If he had waited until after the game, he would have just given that cheshire cat grin and said “next question”.

  197. Popovich says:

    Next time I will just state they are out with an illness.

  198. Zac says:

    Players need resting? Against Orlando, Duncan played 27′, Parker 29 and Manu 23. The game was won with 21 Points of margin. A flight from Orlando to Miami takes one hour.

    Let me state this clear:

    This was done in disrespect to all other teams fighting for the top 1 overall seed. How can Memphis, OKC think this is fair if they don’t get home court advantage in THE FINALS because of (this) one game Miami is ahead?

    This was done in disrespect to all casual fans out there, no question about that.

    This was done in disrespect to all miami heat fans out there.

    This was done in disrespect to all sponsors and broadcasters.

    This was done in disrespect to the League.

    The disrespect was furthermore publicly demonstrated on interviews with mr. popovic, nonverbally and verbally.

    Mr. Stern, if you don’t draw a line here, this

    This behaviour is detrimental to league. Thats why it has to be pubished.

    • Popovich says:

      How is this any different then teams resting players once they make the playoffs? You better be singing this tune this Spring when all the clinching teams are sitting guys like Kobe. It is no different. It happens in EVERY team sport once teams clinch. Popovich is a great coach and shouldnt have to deal with being micromanaged from league officials. Players do not play for a variety of reasons. I think the team should have traveled together, but then again I wouldnt care.

      Plus if you WATCHED the game. It was a GREAT game. If the Spurs win the game would you still be crying like a baby? Popovich is also trying to get his 2nd and 3rd units game time experience and if guys like Duncan are suited, they are going to play. Popovish owes nothing to the fan in terms of “playing” his best players. He just needs to worry about coaching, keeping his team healthy, and playing who he sees fit.

      The fact of the matter is a few disgruntled fans and a commissioner should not dictate how teams are being managed. And if you are a disgruntled fan at a game that still had LeBron, Wade and Bosh then you will never be pleased.

      • Zac says:

        The one thing i want to remark is that you actually do not deny Mr. P. being disrespectful at all, instead you are being disrespectful, too (‘crying like a baby’). Its very hard do argue with someone who doesn’t care for what you say and doesn’t have any respect.

        I have seen a lot of players rest in a lot of sports. But they rest in games against weaker teams, when the reserves are good enough to handle the opponent, and if the game is about to be lost, they are subbed in for the last minutes to turn the game around.

        Actually, i don’t see how this move was in the best interest of the Spurs organization. If they truly want the title, they will need home court in the Finals and this game was a 2-Point game they just gave away.

      • Nick PreZ says:

        Zac, in the best interest of the Spurs because FIRST, they need home court in the Conference. THEN they worry about the FINALS. Memphis has the best record in the league AND THE DIVISION. So they are more important. Why bother playing old, tired stars in a meaningless reg season schedule trap of a game when the REAL prize is a W on Saturday?

    • James says:

      Hay Zac, whats pubished. You know nothing about basketball. Maybe you should call Pop and get a few pointers.

  199. Jamal says:

    Don’t recall the 72-10 Bulls doing that…Just saying! Oh and about that rest to win a championship…Tell me how that’s worked out for you the last couple of years there Pop. LOL

    • Popovich says:

      Pippen only played 79 games that season….He must have taken off three nights throughout the season for whatever reason.

    • Lavan says:

      Manu and Duncan are 35 and 36 years old respectively. At this point (17 games into the season) during the Bulls 95/96 season they only had one player above the age of 34. All 3 of their superstars were 34 years old or younger. Please know some basic facts and why it is necessary to rest aging players before you start spewing nonsense.

      • Jamal says:

        Tell me what it’s won them in the last few seasons though? 34 or 36…Who cares! Oh and explain why you rest Danny Green? I guess he had menstrual cramps! LMBO!!!

  200. Kobe says:

    None of these people wouldve been talking if Spurs didnt choke and lose the game in the last few minutes

  201. BFree00 says:

    Would the NBA rather see a Laker vs Miami final?? you betcha. Stern would rather the Spurs play their older plays back to back and back to back and … until they break down like last year. Then the Lakers make the finals and the NBA is happy. Talk about the integrity of the game Mr Stern. Your making the the game a JOKE. What’s next commish?? Are you going to post the starters for each team and how many minutes each player has to play each game? Give me a break!

  202. B Easy says:

    To all of you self righteous morons claiming the fan lost out, how disrespectful of you to dismiss the professional athletes who did suite up! How about you take a look at some of the names on the roster before calling the game a flop-job. The Spurs are one of the deepest teams in the league and have had many of the same supporting players for multiple seasons, a rarity these days. I for one as a Spurs fan was immensely pleased with the play of some of the bench players who are still coming into their own confidence and team chemistry wise.

    Patty Mills – Leading scorer for Australian Nat’l Olympic Team
    Nando De Colo – Member of French Nat’l Olympic Team
    Gary Neal – One of the best mid-range jumpers in the NBA
    Matt Bonner – One of the highest 3 pt percentages in the NBA
    Boris Diaw – Member of French Nat’l Olympic Team
    Tiago Splitter – Member of Brazilian Nat’l Olympic Team

    The team that suited up would have competed with ANY NBA team and would most likely beat most of them. Stern’s darling LBJ didn’t have much of a problem with Pop’s move, neither did the spurs fans at the game who’s underhanded team nearly pulled out the W, neither were the Miami fans who jumped for joy at the sight of another Allen game winner.

    The commentators seemed to notice some iffy calls as did I, the more you look at this, the more it becomes apparently obvious, Stern is and has for quite some time been rooting and pulling strings against the Spurs.

  203. notnbafananymore says:

    david stern just wants the nba to bring in more money. did everyone forget when we were kids playing the sport, we played for fun for competitiveness not money. i understand this is how they make a living now but david stern really didnt think the spurs had a chance not playing there bigs. well david stern you were wrong the heat almost got beat by the spurs bench. boo hoo dont punish them. if any heat fans got upset by this its probably because they know that 4 games in 5 nights with the spurs bigs all 30 or older besides danny green, they would probably lose. i mean they lost anyway. BARELY. get over it david stern and whoever that white guy is on tnt commentating yall are losers noone likes you all. all because of this incident “stern making a big deal out of this and crying” the nba lost fans. good job david stern. your a jackA#$!

  204. a says:

    Additionally, the point that Fran Blinebury appears to make above, when saying:

    Of course, the solution is to play a shorter schedule, which would produce better basketball, but fewer home games and less revenue for owners. That’s doable if the players and coaches all take a commensurate salary cut. Let me know when pigs fly and that happens.

    is that players are responsible for this situation, by dint of their unreasonably high salaries. In case my use of the word “unreasonably” is unclear, let it be known that I am completely against professional athletes earning what they do – as an issue IN ITSELF. However, players make their cash grabs AFTER the NBA and its owners make theirs. The players are working within a system, whereas the league and owners are defining the parameters of that system. If the owners no longer receive public endowments for new arenas, if league revenues decrease, the players appeals for increased salaries will hold no water and quickly disappear. High salaries are a systemic issue, and so it is the flaws in the system that must be addressed, not the elements of said system.

  205. You Know Me says:

    As a Spurs fan, I would have loved to see the Spurs Big 3 play against the Miami Heat. It has been on my calander since the schedule first came out. At this point in the season, it would have been a true test for our team and would show how we fair up against one of the elite teams in the NBA. However, I have to agree with Pops logic. The Spurs have a big CONFERENCE game this saturday, against the NBA’s best team (record wise). Its obvious that a conference game is much more important to Pop than a nationally televised game. Pop could care less what the media says, as long as he does what he thinks is best for HIS team.

  206. Franz says:

    I watched the game and was highly entertained. Don’t know what the big fuss is all about.

  207. John Doe says:

    It worked perfectly. I would never ever had watched a game between the arrogant Spurs and the not likeable Heat in the regular season otherwise. This was the best marketing ever made buy the Spurs. Other than that a coach should be able to make his decisions without getting sanctions.

  208. a says:

    As stated many times, Pop’s goal is to win championships. David Stern’s goal is to produce the most profitable business that he can. That said, I have 3 points:

    1) If Stern doesn’t want coaches resting players, he needs to take greater pains to avoid scheduling situations in which a coach would think to rest them. Two, big road trips, in close proximity to one another will create such a situation. Scheduling is very difficult, and if it takes a more prolonged season, or even fewer games to avoid as many of these situations as possible, then it should be looked into.

    2) Pop’s move is masterful. Not only does he get rest for his top guys, but he encourages his bench to perform above the level to which they are accustomed by giving them starter minutes and responsibilities against a team that Popovich anticipates seeing in the finals. How better to get them prepared for injuries to key guys, and playoff pressure, than to play them against the Heat when the starters genuinely need the rest?

    3) Fining Pop or anyone in the Spurs organization is ridiculous. The fans HAVE suffered here, and I empathize with the concerns, but this is on Stern, other league scheduling officials, and anyone else involved in setting up the schedule. The NBA owes the fans, a coach does not. It’s like saying that a cashier owes it to the customers to be open on Christmas. If prices for tickets were not so ridiculously high, then fans would not be so aggrieved by being victims of an unfortunate circumstance that, like an injury, could arise at any time.

    • Popovich says:

      Amen. The fact is the game was close, and the Spurs could have easily pulled that game out. And how would you fine Pop for winning? It isnt like the players laid down and lost by 30-40-50 points. If the NBA was smart they would refund all the Wizard and Bobcat fans after each game.

  209. Pat Brown says:

    If there is no rules that the coaches can rest there players from games then there should be no arguments. I really don’t blame Pop for doing it because if you look at the schedule the Spur’s have been playing a lot of back to back games compared to the long off days the Heat have. Pay attention people to have these games are schedule. I would rest my players to. NUF SAID!

  210. Bob Gordon says:

    It’s the coaches decision period. Did Bud Selig penalize the Yankees when they rested AROD, Jeter, Tex or Cano? The fans didn’t get to see those players when they were rested. The Heat-Spurs game was extremely competitive and in fact the Spurs almost won. It was even more interesting without the Spurs players that didn’t play. The players are the stars and not the fat, spoiled brat officials who are paid by the loyal fans paying exorbitant ticket prices.

  211. Pistol says:

    The schedule is ridiculous. Four road games out of five nights! Last season I could understand but not this season. C’mon! If David Stern really cared about the quality and entertainment value in the league, how about making a better and fair schedule? And don’t forget there is Memphis on Saturday. With this move, starters can have that extra day of rest for Memphis … You know a top team in their DIVISION that matters a little more than the Heat.

    The integrity of the game, the respect… Blah, blah, blah. We’re talking about money! And why not, that’s important but be honest Commissioner Stern, say it! Maybe this is the problem with this story. Pop isn’t politically correct. He said: “all games don’t have the same importance. It’s a regular season game in November against Heat … Don’t really matter.” Because lets stop pretending that he benched his starters for a game that mattered. That’s wrong!

  212. yoyosuites says:

    This is a health issue. It hurts to play basketball for years. I’m twenty eight and my knees ankles shoulder and finger all hurt in the cold from just being a gym rat, these guys are all older than me and have played a more high impact ball their whole lives, Tim Duncan should be given complete freedom to deal with his body however he wants. We’re lucky to still have him in the league.

    There is no one in the league who has any right to critique Greg Popovich. He is the best coach in the world. The NBA ought to mind it’s own business. The Spurs should protect there aging roster by any means necessary. Is the NBA going to start fining anybody who undercuts their potential entertainment value? Do we start fining the takers of open layups that could be dunks? The NBA has overstepped it’s bounds and I hope to see a harsh backlash from ownership and players around the league.

    This is a health issue. The careers of NBA icons are being threatened by the plantation mentality of the front offices. They ought to apologize to Pop and the Spurs.

  213. ATF75 says:

    If you’re truly a ‘fan’ you would understand that Pop did what was best for his team, and the fans of this particular franchise understand that. If you had a bunch of Spurs fans up in arms about it, I would understand your comment, but you’re a Laker fan so you should worry about your team and not the Spurs. I believe Pop knows exactly what he’s doing in order to get us ready to make another run at a 5th championship. furthermore, if it was a strategic move, it was a brilliant one. he showed the rest of the league exactly how good the rest of our squad is.. name another team in the league right now that could rest 4 starters and go into Miami and score 100 points? he has every right to coach this team however he sees fit. As a Spurs fan, i went to one of the last away games last season against the Warrioirs and just like this game, the big three didn’t even make the trip out to Oakland. Was I a little disappointed? yes.. Did I still enjoy beating the Warriors with our bench? absolutely 🙂 This isn’t about one guy, or 3 guys, this is a TEAM sport.

  214. Johnny K. says:

    Sekou Smith is easily one of the best writers around here, and his clarity of mind is always refreshing. Succinct as always.

  215. MHX says:

    pop was trying to protect his players, the NBA gave spurs a 20 day trip in the month of november, 10 road games, that’s unfair.

    look at miami heat’s schedule. last time they played was saturday at home vs cavaliers, and then playing spurs on thursday at home. SET UP

  216. Samuel says:

    It was wrong for Pop to rest the guys against the Heat. If he wanted to rest them, he should have the night before. People pay their “hard earned” money to see the best product. It’s really funny how these millionaires who would not be making millions playing a game if it were not for the fans, blow off the fans like that. These writers, bloggers and commentators who are blowing off the people who pay their salaries to run their mouths. Sure, it’s ok if Pops want’s to go back to making 35k a year. Give me a break. Stern is right.

  217. DF says:

    I understand both sides, but David Stern has no leg to stand on here. First, there is no rule against resting players. Second, where do you draw the line? If you punish the Spurs you need to go back and punish everyone that has ever rested a starter. The game was on TNT and the Heat were the opponent. If this was the Spurs vs the Wizards no one would have complained. Please let coaches be coaches and leave this alone.

  218. Truth says:

    If I was Stern’s I would concentrate on better scheduling. I would also leave this alone the next can of worms that might come his way. Is somebody asking. Do you mean to tell me that some of these seven game series are actually fabricated by the comissioner for entertainment purposes?
    Fans pay their money too so a sweep should not happen etc… So concentrate on your part which is scheduling and do not go blaming a coach whose job is to win championships anyway he feels fit.

  219. jj says:

    I believe that Pop did what he had to do. I think its so dumb that hes fined for this but he did it in the past. Thats just not fair for him. Hes the best coach in the league and still had his team put up a good game. I do feel for the fans and feel upset but you dont always get what you want. David needs to chill out.

    • Pat Brown says:

      It’s time for Stern to give it up. He is becoming very irritated to many people lately. Me being one of them.

  220. steppx says:

    The SPurs are an elite franchise. They win. Year after year after year. The integrity of the game you say?? HOw about the favoritism shown in scheduling, which is a big part of this whole debate. Yet none of these so called journalists mentions it. The fans are supposed to be there to see great basketball….competitive, not to oggle the manufactured stars of the Stern league. They saw great basketball. This is absurd frankly, Pop is a legendary coach, did nothing wrong, and did what he thought best (and to make a point about schedules) :: The integrity of the game is damaged far more by franchises like the Kings and Wizards. Cheapo owners not even trying to win. The Spurs are one of the best teams and have been for a decade. Pop can do what he sees best for his team. Period.

  221. Cheesle says:

    FIRE Steve Aschburner and Fran Blinebury. Sekou said it perfectly, Why does there have to be so much drama? I personally have been to 4 NBA games as a child and only got to see the “Star” players once. I still enjoyed the experience. It sounds a lot like Steve and Fran trying to act as if they have more to say than actual coaches instead of just being paid sheep to blog about their biased opinions about the NBA.

  222. steppx says:

    I cant believe so many of you guys take the side of stern. First off, the scheduling is biased….favoring the Heat and other star laden teams. Thats a fact. And its not a small part of this debate and yet you so called journalists dont mention it. Second….if the so called integrity of the game mattered so much, why not rebuke Sacramento for failing to EVER put together a competitive roster. Of cheap skate owners like Leonis. The truth is, the Spurs are an elite franchise. They WIN….they continue to WIN year after year. The fans……do they come see to see great hoop or come to ogle stars??? Those manufactured by the league and david stern. PAHLEEEZE….stop with this mealy mouthed nonsense about the integrity of the game. The integrity of the game is more damaged by favoritisim. Pop can do what he wants. He wins, and he will challange for the title again this year.

    • Arky says:

      Every team has trips like the Spurs one. The Heat already did one (and did not send their stars home on the 4th game in 5 nights even though as at altitude in Denver… and the Heat won, too). It’s not a scheduling bias against the Spurs, get over it. The Spurs actually have the timing of their longest road trip decided by the annual rodeo using their building, not by the league office.

      I think the fine is over the top, because it wasn’t foreshadowed, but I think Stern would be right to say “guys, TV and fans pay the bills and from now on if you’re going to ignore them you’re going to be giving back part of your cut of the TV money”.

      It’s OK to do this right before the playoffs, that’s the only time. Rest one guy occasionally, sure, but resting 4 starters at once in a national TV game? That’s arrogant.

      • Nick PreZ says:

        What about when teams tank for the lottery? Where are the fines then? Or when a terrible team basically fleeces its fans for ticket prices every time they stepped on the floor? No fines. How is that good “for the integrity of the game?” You know why the NBA has to scramble for fans? Because nobody really wants to see ONLY the stars of the league. They wanna see competition, that’s why they watch more college ball than pro right now. People still play hard, and not act prima Donna. The integrity of the league is already damaged and it happened ON STERN’S watch. This just damages it even more. People already think it’s fixed, why would you basically go out on a limb to give them more ammo?

      • Nick PreZ says:

        So the Heat were on the road for 20 out of the last 30 days? Any other team? Please. THAT is the scheduling bias. Sure, the Rodeo Road Trip, but what about the OTHER 2 ROAD TRIPS this month? Please. Don’t speak unless you know what you’re talking about

  223. Jhagler says:

    This is ridiculous. I get it a fan or two may have been disappointed, big deal, people get disappointed all the time its a part of life. If it was my kid I would explain, hey they need rest to give them the best shot down the road at a successful playoff run. Stern is an idiot and this is getting blown way out of proportion. Its for the greater good of his team and Spurs fans. Anything could’ve happened last night. Duncan, Parker or Ginobli couldve played tired and got injured, out for weeks or longer. How then would that be fair to the kid that lives in San Antonio who is going to see them play Memphis?

  224. breen says:

    Interesting how all the NBA-employed writers support their master’s decision…but I guess the option is quite clear–stop mindlessly supporting the company boss and lose job or pretend to be an honest journalist that just so happens to work for the NBA and support everything the NBA does.

  225. CARMEN says:

    David Stern, once again, mucking things up in the NBA.

  226. W/E says:

    This story is ridiculous, Popovich you are the man, D.Stern u just cant fine a team for that, thats totally absurd.

  227. William says:

    Sure, I would love to have seen the Spurs stars play, but Pop has every right to send his players home. It’s the same as having them suited up and not playing. This is a tactic which is being employed not just by Pop, but by coaching around the league. I mean, if the league dictates who plays, then where do we draw the line?? …. what’s next?… why didn’t they play such and such minutes? … or why didn’t such and such a player take the final shot? The league needs to let management and coaching staff do their jobs and not interfere in their teams tactics.
    Then the commissioner comes out and says that their will be “sanctions”…. based on what rule?? Show me the rule in the rulebook that says you can’t rest your players. And if that rule does exist… it certainly didn’t get added to the rulebook just before the game, so why was it not applied to every other team/coach? The “integrity of the game” issue is very subjective and can not be fairly applied in all circumstances. If the NBA is so concerned about the “integrity of the game”, they should get their scheduling department to avoid putting teams on the road for 20 out of 30 days of the month.

  228. Todd says:

    I have read and seen a lot of talk on this. At no point has anybody refered to any rule saying a team can’t do this. How can they be punished if no rule violation. My take is if NBA punishes Spurs when they have not violated any rules. I will do the only thing that gives me a voice and not watch any remaining games on TV. Strategy comes in many forms and Popovich looks to be on the leading edge.

  229. Matteo Fabiano says:

    The real problem is that the NBA regular season is too long. Too many irrelevant games.

  230. Pop's Defense Man says:

    I understand both sides of the argument. However, Coach Pop is the coach of the Spurs team and one of the heads of the franchise. He knows what is best fro his team. The league is more about business than before. If Stern wants superstars in a marquee match, then why did we have a no-name Slam Dunk Contest in Orlando? Exactly. The NBA is ridiculous. When they fix the dunk contest, then they can be the Coach of the Spurs. I’m pretty sure pop has been the coach fro over a decade. This is a specific game pertaining to a specific coach. Stern’s job is for general affairs concerning the NBA. I’m with the Coach 100%.

  231. Tim says:

    If we are so worried about the integrity of the game then lets make sure that schedules are fair as well. You have one team at the end of a 10 day road trip playing 4 out of 5 nights against a team at home that has had four days rest. Mr. Stern, where’s the integrity in that? You say the NBA has an obligation to the fans to produce a quality game. I say, Coach Pop understands his obligation to the San Antonio fan base and those who are financially invested in the Spurs by trying to win a championship this year. With that in mind, he has to make decisions as to who will play, who will rest, and what actions will be taken with the Spurs. Last I looked, Mr. Stern isn’t the coach of the Spurs. Maybe a word to Coach Pop. Next time, dress them and sit them on the bench and don’t even have them take their sweats off.

    • pakyaw says:

      STOP WHINING!!! this players paid by millions,and theyre train to be tough…only reason that u cant play is injuries….TIRED is for PU55Y….Lebron and Kobe played with flu..and many others..

  232. Joe McNair says:

    I have been a Spurs fan since the ABA days and the problem is that nobody, outside of this part of Texas, cares much what the Spurs do. Nobody wants to watch us play because we don’t put on “the show” that you folks at the NBA have been selling as a sport for the last few decades. Spurs play team basketball not showtime basketball and this is just another attempt by Stern to punish us for not getting with the program and being the Washington Generals to Miami’s Globetrotters. I doubt there were a lot of people who cared one way or another which Spurs were playing last night and we all know that the league would have been happier with a 20 point blowout if our starters had played with the games they have been playing while Miami was sitting on their butts for the past 4 days down on South beach. Integrity? Pop has more in his little finger than Stern has ever exhibited in his whole miserable life.

    • decadeofspursloyalty says:

      The spurs are my team but I know what you mean I’m born and raised up here in seattle washington. Not to many fans short of people out of texas that like the spurs but I’m commited for life I have there logo tattooed on my leg.

  233. randy says:

    Think about Pop looking at the two games for the spurs … Miami last night and Memphis at home tomorrow … and trying to figure out how to win one of them. Playing an exhausted starting lineup against the rested Heat will almost surely lose. Then playing the same guys a couple nights later against their “real” rival in a MUCH more important game (home-court implications for the playoffs) … they would probably lose that one too. One game is winnable (vs. Memphis) and one is not (vs. Miami), at least that is how it looks. So you rest your starters and get ready for a game that matters on Saturday and give yourself the best change to win. Great strategy. Not to mention, you are giving your bench guys INVALUABLE experience against the NBA champs in a prime-time televised game. That experience might be really valuable later and even immediately in terms of their confidence and even how other teams game-plan vs. your second unit. Throw in the statistically proven higher likelihood of an injury on the end of a 10-day road trip as a bonus reason for resting them. Throw in the benefit of depriving Miami of relevant tape in a potential finals match-up. Yes, you are deprived of it too, but if you believe you make better adjustments after each playoff game than your opponent (and Pop surely does) then that is your advantage too. And, perhaps surprisingly, Pop gave his team the best chance to win the Miami game itself. His bench players were not tired and knew they had something to prove. Miami had surely not been game-planning for a star-less Spurs team so you had a little tactical surprise there. When they learned the starters weren’t in, they may have become overconfident. A trick play like this sometimes works, and I can’t praise Popovich enough for attempting it while giving him the best chance to win the more important game tomorrow night. In my opinion he is once again showing why he is the best coach in the NBA.

  234. RD says:

    Jeff Caplan got it right. Exactly which rule or regulation did the Spurs violate? How can punishments be decided based on a moral case? If there is no concrete violation, then there is no concrete basis for punishment either. Also, the moral indignation about the “integrity of the game” is completely at odds with the “profit uber alles” argument. Which is it? You cannot reconcile maximizing profits with the idea of acting with the true heart and spirit of the game.

  235. q.m. says:

    Look if they dressed and sat the bench the whole game, what does it matter if they were there or not. Heck they should fine Miami for almost losing to them. If the spurs didn’t commit the last 2 turnovers, they probly would have won. Televised or not, tge spurs made it a game. Playing 4 games in 5 nights to Miami being off since sat. QQ. Go Spurs Go

  236. Ball so Hard says:

    I think that Pop’s decision was poorly timed. If he had done this later in the season then it’d be more understandable. But given his tremendous ability to manage starter minutes during games anyway, I don’t think that making Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Green play would have significantly contributed to the break down of their bodies in the long run. Also he probably should have made the decision to send them home earlier so that the Miami fans could have saved their money in buying those tickets…

  237. dc13 says:

    All of this talk about the morality or integrity of the game sickens me. The belief that Pop “owes” the fans anything is complete horse…well you know what. As some of the more rational folks toward the end pointed out, Pop has one job to do as coach: compete for a championship. Would it have made any more of a difference if he’d flown the 3, had them on the bench and not played them? Hardly, as a fan it would likely be better to know who’s playing before the game rather than being irritated waiting for those stars to never come off the bench. The fact that TV ratings are basically controlling Stern to the point where he’s punishing teams THAT HAVE BROKEN ABSOLUTELY NO RULES sickens me. He has shown me absolutely nothing throughout his career that indicates trying to preserve the integrity of the game. If anything it’s become a giant commercial. I know the league wants to make money, but let’s do it in an honest and responsible way. It’s not like this one game is going to lose 20% of the NBA’s fanbase. Putrid.

  238. person abc says:

    pops coaching led them to 4 titles, 50+ wins and playoff runs every season. respect the man! he knows what hes doing. and look, the “star-less” spurs almost beat the defending champs in a tightly played contest. basketball is about the team, not the individual who plays the game. looks like stern and a few of the writers here only care about the money. what a shame.

  239. Bill says:

    There is an alarming lack of empathy expressed by some of the writers above regarding the fan,

    Let’s face reality, professional sports are pretty much professional entertainment. When I lay down money to see a given NBA team I am paying to see their stars, not just a bunch of guys wearing a uniform. I think this in heightened in a so-called marquee match up.

    I am a Laker fan but I was keen to watch a game involving two teams that are on everyone’s short list as champion contenders. When I turned on the game and learned the Spurs left their starters (effectively) home, the game lost all meaning and therefore I turned if off. No big deal (although I presume the corporate sponsors didn’t like it much). However, If I had laid down hard cash to see the game in person, I would be beyond angry,

    Clearly stars miss games all the time due to injury or suspension. But very rarely to multiple stars miss the same game and almost never without significant advance warning. But what really makes this unique is that the the Spurs somewhat capriciously decided that this game was a game that they would rest all of their stars. Was it a strategic move? Sure, let’s accept that it was. However, the integrity of the NBA product takes a hit.

    As an average Joe, I can rarely afford to buy tickets to more than one game a season to see the Lakers and even then I am in the rafters. I know when I buy my ticket that Kobe or Howard could miss the game due to an injury but now I have to worry that the coach will sit them down?

    I guess the obvious point is that if the NBA can not field their very best product 82 times a season, they need to cut the number of games they play. If they won’t do that, then they should inform the ticket buying public well in advance of which games they intend to rest the marquee ( in favor of stand ins) players.

    I really hope Mr. Stern slaps SA down hard for this act that in mind really negatively impacts the fans. Shame on most of the writers that contributed to this article and thank you to Steve and Frank for seeing the fans side.

    • 16going417 says:

      I agree with you Bill. You make all valid points. Steve and Fran got it right. The rest have some valid points or got it completely wrong (Sekou).

      Since wants to have 3 blogs on the same subject I’ll say it again:

      If there is a rule that requires healthy players to play then Pop and the Spurs should be fined the maximum penalty. However, as much as we fans and the commissioner hate how it played out, if there is no such rule then the NBA has to respect Pop and the owners of the Spurs decision and allow them to coach as they see fit.

      With that said maybe the NBA needs to change the rule. Not to the extent of coaching the team, but to ensure if players are not injured and are available to play then they MUST suit up and play. Then the coach can decide how many minutes to play them just as they do in EVERY normal NBA game they coach today.

      Remember, these guys get paid to play basketball and it’s the fans that fund a lot of what goes on in the NBA, so I believe the fans are “entitled” to get what they pay for (visiting fan or home fan). If you are too old to play the 82 games you singed on for and that you get paid hundreds of thousands or even millions for then retire. Otherwise suit up and play.

      • Stinky says:

        You Bozos are typical of the type of fan that has distorted the integrity of the true essence of this sport.
        Pops’ move was brilliant! He rested his players after they won 4 games. He opted to have his squad ready to battle a much more significant opponent in their division and probable playoff rivals on Saturday night. He may have messed with The Heat’s heads a bit in denying them a real look at their potential championship opponents. The season is made of 82 games and it’s entirety is played out like a chess match. The fans who feel entitled to see every game played like a rock concert or a video game are usually the same ones who say “they don’t really start playing until the last 5 minutes.” The drama of the last 5 minutes is the fruit of the the previous 43’s subtleties, just like the play-offs are the result of how the regular season was managed. I would like to see athletes and most especially the suits make less money so that the players can play and the coaches can coach and the fans can take it or leave it without all of this BS blown way out of proportion.

    • really man says:

      Really man you should be more embaressed about the so called super stars of the defending NBA Champs almost losing to the 2 string of the Spurs Stern is out of his mind on this one just got his feelings hurt and it was a great game no big deal all the way around expect Stern be an asine person in this game Lmao at Stern and the overrated Miami Heat lol

    • TheReality says:

      Pop took a stand against this obvious bias against the Spurs. Heat had 4 days rest to prepare for the Spurs and only played one game in over a week and a half. While the Spurs had the worse schedule in the NBA. 11 road games in 17 games. 4 games in 5 nights. He finds it fair to give the Spurs this cruel schedule and then have them face the Heat in Miami after they had practically a week off but to rest his old players (Duncan and Manu are 34 and 36) before having to play yet another game on Saturday against the #1 Grizzlies is somehow punishable?!? Let the best coach in basketball coach his team and you worry about dictating the NBA. Pop hasn’t missed playoffs in 15 years and won 50+ each of the last 13 seasons with 4 rings and 2 coach of the year awards. And to make Stern looks even more foolish the Spurs actually led the entire game and almost won without SIX (6) of their top players. Stern your time as commish is over.

    • Nick PreZ says:

      What about when teams tank for the lottery? Where are the fines then? Or when a terrible team basically fleeces its fans for ticket prices every time they stepped on the floor? No fines. How is that good “for the integrity of the game?” You know why the NBA has to scramble for fans? Because nobody really wants to see ONLY the stars of the league. They wanna see competition, that’s why they watch more college ball than pro right now. People still play hard, and not act prima Donna. The integrity of the league is already damaged and it happened ON STERN’S watch. This just damages it even more. People already think it’s fixed, why would you basically go out on a limb to give them more ammo?

    • decadeofspursloyalty says:

      Professional sports is professional entertainment and as entertaing as it is to watch a regualr season game in november. The real entertainment comes in the playoffs. Pop is bein a smart coach knowing that manu misses a sizable amount of every single season due to injury he is chosing too rest him and atempt to prevent that. manu isnt so prown to injury because he is old, but because he plays at such a high leavel as I’m sure u have seen. as well as he plays for his home country in the off season almost every year since he came into the leauge. Timmy might be getting a little to old to play but he still has game and coming off his career as one of the best power forward to play the game the spurs franchise has decided to give him one more contract and let him ease into retirement. As u sayed in your post stars miss games all the time due to injury, ect… So instead of pushing there bodys to the limit and causing them to miss weeks due to injury he sat them a single game to prevent more wear and tear then nessesary. Coming off a succeful road trip and sitting near the top of the conference there’s no need to risk any unnessesary damage. We will call that “strategy” as you so mockingly stated earlyer. That’s what great coaches do, being a lakers fan I would hope u would understand good coaching but your proble a fair weather fan like most others that fallow the lakers. Greg pop is an out standing coach, I wanna see my boys out there every night but if he feels they need a rest then I’m confident that the spurs “guys in uniforms” can get it done in absence of the stars, and any true fan will support them just as much. I am not the coach and neither is stern. We should leave it to the guy that gets paid millions to do it and has been doing it for years one of the most winningest coaches in the nba. There’s more than just a couple stars on a team that’s why everone gets a ring. Teams win championships not players

  240. Pop’s decision should not be second-guessed by micromanager Stern. These are professional athletes who he also has some duty to protect against injury. Read the literature. The NBA schedule is not player friendly. Even without the players, the game was exciting and to put a positive spin on it.. the fans can be introduced some new players. These guys aren’t in the league for nothing. They proved it last nite.

  241. Just another NBA Fan says:

    I agree with both sides here. I agree with Pop for resting his stars for a better chance to win a championship. And I agree that what he did is not good for the integrity of the game. So I think John Schuhmann said it best: “I blame the schedule maker.”

  242. alex_td21 says:

    Stern shouldn’t do COACHing duties. He ain’t got no business in that part of the NBA. The guys who suited up played well enough and never tanked the game. So Comm. David should NEVER sanction this move by Pop.

  243. Nick says:

    I’m sure fans in Miami did not buy a ticket to see the Spurs play. They bought tickets to see their team play and win. That’s what happened and Pop did what he thought was best. That’s good enough for me especially when the schedule played out like it did. He would have sat his starters for any other team in that situation. He’s not afraid of the Heat!

  244. Bill says:

    I have to point out that people getting up in arms about lost money, about not getting to see the “full Spurs” etc. are clearly putting celebrity ahead of team basketball. At the end of the day we all have obligations to the people who cut our checks, but why should Pop’s obligation extend to celebrity-seeking? It’s not by chance that players gain their status… We love watching the best players be the best, and soak in the cheers and jeers of packed stadiums.

    But this is also a sport, and a game, and the only way to keep franchises competitive and fair is to let them do everything in their power (and within the fair guidelines of league standards) to win the championship. It’s not fair when a commissioner steps in and says to a franchise “you have to play this way”. To me, that toes the line. So in the future will the commissioner be able to step into any game and dictate who plays? How would that be fair? How would that put the incentive of winning into the hands of a franchise? How is that competitive? Regardless of age or minutes or coach’s wishes? It’s clear to me that Pop has never tried to do anything but his job to the fullest extent. Honestly, if every coach in the league were as competent as him, there’d be no conflict here. We’ve just come to expect the LeBrons, the Carmellos, the Kobes to play every game. The Spurs ain’t them.

    • Tim says:

      The league is popular because it emphasizes its stars. It is no accident. Celebrity seeking or not, this is what has made the NBA great. In Stern’s earlier years as Commish nobody wanted to ‘be like Craig (Hodges)’, they wanted to ‘be like Mike’. From Magic to LeBron the stars carry the league. If they are not showcased as often as possible pro basketball will become more like pro lacrosse. Some hardcore fans may love all the players and see them all as just players, but if you look at the big picture the stars undeniably carry the league. For the same reason players are obliged to play in the All-Star game when healthy, they should do the same for all 82 regular season games.

    • Krzysiek says:

      I think $$tern should apologise fans, because LeBron doesn’t play full 48 minuts in every game, so fans cannot watch his game all the time. It is huge waste of money for NBA, so James should be suspended for 15 matches. It’s as ridiculous as Popgate. They are old and need day for resting? Who cares! Money are the most important thing for Mr. $$. Time to say goodbye, Mr.Stern.

  245. Game Time says:

    Theoretically, if all the Spurs stars came down with a sickness or injury before the game and couldn’t play then there would be no consequences. The ticket holders might be bummed, but I doubt they would be very upset. So if the coach decides it’s in the best interest of health and wellness to rest his star players, then there shouldn’t be a huge problem with it.

    • Loski21 says:

      I totally agree with u, i see why some fans are upset, but this ‘integrity of the game’ issue is blow out of proportion. Doing the same thing against lower ranked teams does not stir up the same trouble and you are wanna talking about integrity of the game.

      • olrem says:

        This has NOTHING to do with the game’s integrity and EVERYTHING to do with money, and no one will ever convince me otherwise. Integrity of the game is letting a coach do what he believes is best for his team, not for the fans, and much less for the opposing team’s fans. Rules should be the same for everyone, and if Pop sat Patty Mills, Nando de Colo and Tiago Splitter, no one outside of Australia, France and Brazil would care. This should be no different. Let the coach do his job, that’s for the best for the sport’s integrity. Playing players based on popularity/marketing/sponsorships? That’s not basketball, that’s the NBA.

    • Dirk Hogan says:

      “I imagine that the Heat would have won by a lot more if the Spurs played their tired stars.” This really says it all. We are all monday morning coaches who live in a world of if’s and what’s. It was a good game with 23 lead changes and no winner ’till 22 seconds before the end of the fourth quarter. TNT should be very happy with it. Popovich sent his bench and, guess what, the bench proved it was worthy of the Heat. We saw serious efforts from serious players, unlike what fans of the tanking teams have to endure. And the real Spurs fans are probably happy with a bench that performs well and a team fit to take on the Grizzlies this weekend.

    • If Pop didn’t want the starters to play, he should have still let them travel with the team, but just listed them as DNP coach’s decision. He may have possibly taken less heat if he would have handled it that way. Additionally, he should have let Tony Parker & Danny Green play. They are still young, Duncan and Ginobili, on the other hand, are on the other side of 35, and Manu is injury prone. Either way, it was still a competitive and entertaining game even though Charles Barkley spent most of the game riding Lebron James’s jock strap instead of just calling the game.

    • Agree says:

      they asked: why didn’t Pop rest the players the game before and play against Heat. Answer: You don’t know if you’re gonna get 4 out of 5 wins if you rested them the game before. If the lost the game before Pop probably wouldve let them play against the Heat since they only had 3 wins. Plus, if you’re gonna give away one game, you might as well give away the game against a great team so you dont have to waste a lot of energy fighting them…

    • pakyaw says:

      this means every 16 games, he gonna rest his key players..LOL!..I dont know whats gonna be the difference,when playoff time…they got beat by OKC coz theyre got tired coz theyre OLD!….I think they are in stage in DENIAL the LAKERS…cant accept that theyre OLD….

      • tombrayo says:

        They got beat by OKC because OKC was the better team in that series not because they were old. It wouldnt surprise me it the Spurs are raising that trophy in June. Every year people count out the Spurs they are never mentioned as a contender but every year they make the playoffs as one of the top seeds in the much more competitive west. And if im not mistaken wasnt Dallas considered OLD when they whooped the overrated Heat to win the championship in 2011? There is a reason the Spurs have won 4 rings in the Tim Duncan Era.

      • PJ says:

        Actually, if you come to think of it, they are admitting that they are old. That’s why they have to rest players. Where’s the denial in that?

    • brad says:

      obviously coach popovich thaught it in best interest of his team and the players to rest the stars, and i agree, i think it is sad that miami was only able to win by like 5 with 3 of SA stars on the bench that would have garunteed 30 points for SA and less for Miami, Stern is out of control fining SA for the coaches decisions to look out for his star players and not force them to play or travel with the team.

    • Sathish says:

      Stern is perfect at least in this issue. If all the contending teams decided to bench their star players against each other till they reach play off, will you be happy? I am not sure why everyone is thinking regular season games are not so important. Spur star players killed Toronto Raptors but they cannot play against Heat. Lot of people are saying eventhough star players did not play for spur they gave tough game. How did you all come to conclusion that the spur star players could not have brought better game possibly win against Heat. Somebody has to set example, Pop was escaping for long time but not league got message. Heat might have played sloppy because their preparation would have been based on Spur star player. I really appreciate Heat for adjusting this twist and play hard to win.

    • eddie moreno says:

      stern is such a pee-wee of a man, this fine shows his ” power ” and makes him feel 5′ 8″ tall oooooh ! big man ! can’t except spurs’ success over the years, it makes him jealous. if the spurs had won that game he would probably said it’s not about winning it’s about little mini me being in charge !