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League fines Spurs $250,000 for not playing stars vs. Miami

Nov 30, 2012, 6:17 PM EDT

Gregg Popovich, David Stern Getty Images

David Stern has drawn his line in the sand… we think. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered about where that line is and what is and is not allowed.

But the NBA has brought the hammer down. A big hammer.

The NBA has fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for sending Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home and not having them available to play against the Miami Heat in a nationally televised game on Thursday night. Stern pretty much had no choice but to fine the Spurs after he came out before the game with a statement saying there would be “substantial sanctions” on the Spurs for their actions.

Here is Stern’s statement with the fine:

“The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case. The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team’s only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.”

As for what rule the Spurs violated, here is what the league said in its release: “The Spurs’ actions were in violation of a league policy, reviewed with the NBA Board of Governors in April 2010, against resting players in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA.”

The large fine was aimed at the ownership group led by Peter Holt, clearly wanting them to be the heavies next time Gregg Popovich wants to rest his best players.

This move by Stern leaves a lot of questions going forward that the league should clarify with teams.

Can teams rest players later in the season as we get closer to the playoffs? Is this simply a matter of notification — if Popovich had said he was going to do this three days in advance could the Spurs have avoided the fine? Is the league now going to be into scrutinizing lineups, especially since you can be sure some teams will suddenly have players who have minor injuries that need a night off to rest?

This completely feels like David Stern sending the message to NBA coaches and teams not to mess with nationally televised games, the marquee games. Don’t go resting Kobe Bryant on Christmas, Mike D’Antoni.

106 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. dirtyjerseysports - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    So who is Roger Goddell gonna start at QB for the Eagles this week? Foles or Vick?

  2. bmosh99 - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Why did he get fined. Wasn’t he just doing what he thought was best for his team?

  3. savvybynature - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Meanwhile, the ratings for the game were a 0.8, exactly the same as they were for the previous Thursday night matchup two weeks before:
    They were actually up slightly. Stern is an idiot, making a mountain out of a mole hill without even having the facts first.

  4. bjerkrulez - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    WTF Mr. Stern….WTF….

  5. jdillydawg - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    I don’t mind the fine. I guess if I were a Spurs fan I’d be a little pissed the best players on my team are benched against one of the best teams in the league. Was Popovich saying they really didn’t have a chance of winning anyway, so may as well bench the best players so they can have a better chance at beating mediocre teams?

    In sports, it seems good teams will always try harder to play up to the level of a better team. I’m sure the Spurs’ guys without their top four played above themselves which is how they kept it close. Problem is, the Heat played down to the Spurs level too, and this is where I agree with Stern. The game isn’t as good as it could be when the best aren’t even in the building. Fans don’t pay to watch teams play down, the play to see the best from everyone.

    Double the fine. But make Popovich pay the second part. That’s just crappy coaching.

    • opshuns - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      The Heat were rested and the Spurs have put on alot of millege this month for older vets….

      • jdillydawg - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        They should probably take up lawn bowling at their age then.

  6. bjerkrulez - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Players unite…replace yourselves with cyborgs…the dictator has spoken lmao

  7. opshuns - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Now does Stern fill out the lineups for the Spur??? Big Dave, while you are at it, stop by Charlotte and do their lineup also…

  8. eventhorizon04 - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Definitely a bad precedent that would only encourage teams to lie from now on.

  9. gmsingh - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Now we see how corrupt the NBA really is. The playoffs are fixed to begin with, the Heat were handed the title despite being the worst offenders for fouls, and now Stern is having his way with Popovich because he doesn’t want to kowtow to Stern’s particular brand of bs. I sure hope a Congressional investigation is to follow.

  10. chuckster77 - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Why does the league have to punish San Antonio? Isn’t the NBA still a business? If TNT or ESPN are upset that San Antonio isn’t playing their starters then don’t schedule nationally televised games for them. San Antonio has the right to play who they want just as the networks have the right broadcast who they want. The only thing David Stern should do is schedule the games better so that this isn’t an issue to begin with.

    • tubal22 - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Because the next time TNT and ESPN negotiate a contract, they can say that they don’t get a good product because star players sit, and they won’t pay as much.

      If teams/players want to continue to make millions of dollars, they need to put a worth product on the floor.

      If teams/players want to take a huge paycut because the TV contracts aren’t as big, go ahead and take a game off whenever you want.

      • chuckster77 - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        That was kind of my point. The networks have the power to fix this. If teams like San Antonio start losing national broadcast revenue for sitting starters then the problem will correct itself.

  11. CaJonMcChicken - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Stern runs the NBA like a mafia. Better watch out, Pop before he has you wacked!

  12. opshuns - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Oh year, I forgot something NBA??? What about the flopping by the offense???

  13. bjerkrulez - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    To all NBA teams, if your players are tired or have minor injuries shut the f* up and let them suffer…have them talk to Stern- the official NBA doctor lol this is the stupidest fine I have seen so far

    Mark Cuban please takeover the league >.<

  14. brysong - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Although I wouldn’t call myself a fan of basketball I pay attention to what happens.

    This might be the single worst action taken by a commissioner of a sport ever and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

  15. codysteeler - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Someone needs to fine Stern 100000 times more than he fined the Spurs for continuously being of disservice to fans!

  16. lemfaxx - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    After the the duncan era probably coach pop is the best fit for stern position… Let him retire

  17. bjerkrulez - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    And to think even lebron himself didn’t think it was a big deal for pops to rest his stars….

    Even players in 2k13 get tired mr.commish >.<

  18. ajw21 - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    This wont stop Pop. Next time parker will have a mild ankle sprain, Ginobli will have back pain & Duncan will be Old. That was classic last yr in a game Duncan missed. I would love to hear what Pop is saying about Stern behind close doors.
    Go Spurs!

  19. bucrightoff - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    I really hope Peter Holt gets the other owners together and fires this clown now. You cannot let him continue to make a mockery of the game for the next 15 months. All he’s doing is continuing his ongoing destruction of the NBA’s credibility.

  20. bhester1906 - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    David Stern is wrong on this one. He should try and get the games scheduled better. Also, he needs to accept this is the NBA’s product until they figure out the proper changes. There is a possibility that some people won’t play in certain games. That’s how it is

  21. longtallsam - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    David Stern should be fined for his incompetency in allowing a schedule that has a team playing five road games in six nights. And, the coach should damn sure be the only one to decide who plays, and who doesn’t, except in situations like Rondo’s suspension.

  22. aiede - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    This isn’t just about the TV deal. It’s also about the Vegas line. How much money do you think changed hands in Vegas based on a line that didn’t move until very late? For all that sports leagues claim to hate gambling, people who are putting money on games drive TV ratings and no league can afford to alienate them.

  23. bjerkrulez - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    If i were one of the spurs starters, I would play, start a fight, and punch the wits out of someone…its a cheaper fine lmao

  24. tonyricemajorharris - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Stern = P.O.S

  25. ddaughtry81 - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I agree with Stern. Fans went to this game to see the stars. You don’t sit your stars for a nationally televised game due to fatigue. These guys get paid too much money to get days off. Neither of us would be sent home from work because we are tired. And people are forgetting that he said they did not notify anyone in a timely manner. He could have rested them any of the 4 games in the 5 night period. This is more about the fans who went to the game, not the fans who sat at home, which I believe is most people saying it was unfair of Stern.

    • savvybynature - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      You say these guys get paid too much to get time off, but what about the end of the bench players? They get paid a lot too by average joe’s standards, and they hardly play at all! Why can’t they contribute to the team by playing hard for a night to give the other guys some rest?
      It happens in every other major sport without any controversy. It’s like NBA fans have suddenly become the most entitled sports fans on Earth.

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