Prior to yesterday’s game between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, Commissioner David Stern said that he would come down hard on the Spurs for resting Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. The Big 3 were not even present in Miami because they under orders to fly back to San Antonio immediately after the Orlando game the night before.
This isn’t the first time that Coach Pop has sent his players home on a nationally televised game.
“The first time we did it was in Portland,” Popovich said of the Feb. 21 game where the Big 3 were sent home. “For a variety of reasons, we sat our guys. I got a letter from a gentleman who was disappointed because he came to the game with his cousin, they paid money and they wanted to see so-and-so and so-and-so. I wrote him back and I said, ‘If I was in your position, I would write the same letter. I agree with you totally. You’re right. But my priorities are different than yours.’ In the general sense, frankly, everything doesn’t go our way in life. Everything go your way every day? Sometimes things happen. That’s the way it goes.”
Sitting players that are not injured isn’t against NBA rules. Healthy bench players get DNP’s all the time. However, just because it is not against NBA rules, does it mean that it isn’t against the spirit of NBA competition? Furthermore, should fans who have paid a large amount of money to watch Miami’s Big 3 go against San Antonio’s Big 3 get some sort of refund or apology?
There is no coach in the league better at monitoring minutes than Coach Pop. Clearly, he is thinking long term and not short term. Nowhere in Pop’s contract does it say that he has to please fans. However, this is solely the job description of Commissioner Stern. Happy fans equates to more money and revenue; sitting stars does not. It isn’t good for the game, for television (TNT), and most importantly, the fans.
So, should fans get some sort of apology from the NBA or refund the next time the Lakers play the Spurs and Pop decides to sit the Big 3, yet again?