NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Suns owner sorry fans saw depleted version of Spurs — It’s not all that unusual for NBA teams to rest a few of their superstar, veteran players in the preseason so as to perhaps work in younger guys, or, simply, just give their best guys a night off. At around 1 p.m. yesterday, the San Antonio Spurs tweeted that Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter would miss Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to injury and that Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich would also not travel with the team for the game. That left Tony Parker as the only household name to suit up last night and with 2:31 left in the game, Suns owner Robert Sarver addressed fans and apologized for San Antonio’s star-less lineup. Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic has more:
During a time out with 2:31 to go in the Suns’ 121-90 victory at US Airways Center, Sarver came to scorer’s table to get on the public address system.
“Hey, everybody, I want to thank you for coming out tonight,” Sarver said. “This is not the game you paid your hard-earned money to watch. I apologize for it. And I want you to send me your tickets if you came tonight with a return envelope and I’ve got a gift for you on behalf of the Suns for showing up tonight. Thank you.”
The game’s official attendance was 13,552, although many of those paid tickets were unused. After the game, Sarver said the fans who mail in a ticket stub or proof of attendance would receive a gift certificate for tickets, merchandise or food. The amount had not been determined.
“I just felt that the fans paid good money for the game and they didn’t see the players that they anticipated seeing,” Sarver said. “It was just a gesture to let them know that we appreciate their support and want to do something to compensate for that.”
Sarver said the organization had heard from fans who were displeased that they would not see all of the available Spurs.
“But that wasn’t really the reason I did it,” Sarver said. “I just think it was the right thing to do.”
Sarver said he did not believe that any league fine or reprimand was in order for the Spurs not bringing all of their healthy players to the game, the Spurs’ first preseason game since returning from a trip to Germany and Turkey last week.
“It’s their decision and it’s my decision to decide what to do for our fans,” Sarver said. “I’m fine with it.”
Some fans thanked Sarver as he returned to his seat and excited the arena’s lower bowl to head to the locker room.
“People acknowledged it and feel good about it,” Sarver said. “They know you’re thinking about them and you realize that they spent a lot of money to buy these tickets.”
It was not the first time that Sarver had a reaction to the Spurs holding out Duncan and Ginobili. In 2005, he flapped his arms like chicken wings at the Spurs bench when San Antonio chose to hold out their two stars from a regular-season game. He again drew negative social media reaction Thursday night from Spurs fans.
“It’s not really about them (the Spurs),” Sarver said. “They control what they do. We have to control what we do.”
UPDATE, 11:35 a.m.: And here’s what Sarver will be giving those Suns fans who send him their ticket …
And further details on what Sarver is offering is available via Suns.com …