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Doc Rivers ‘doesn’t like’ league fining Spurs for resting their starters

Dec 1, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

When David Stern issued a statement stating the league would be fining the Spurs $250,000 for resting four starters on Thursday night in Miami, it was sure to create some controversy.

There was no rule specifically stating Gregg Popovich could not sit his players whenever he chooses, so handing down a steep punishment for it doesn’t seem like a decision brimming with justice.

Not surprisingly, veteran and esteemed head coach Doc Rivers wasn’t in favor of the ruling, and told reporters so before his Celtics faced the Blazers on Friday.

From Chris Forsberg of

“I don’t like it, I just don’t like it,” Rivers said before Boston’s game Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. “I do get the other side of it, but it’s a tough one. You have to coach your team to win in the long haul, and you have to do whatever you need to do. If that’s sitting players, then you sit players. It’s a tough one.”

Would Rivers shy away from resting his veterans in a similar situation?

“Listen, we’ll do it when we want to do it. And we should be able to do it,” said Rivers. “It can be early in the season, end of the season. Now if we give a guy [a day] off because he has a family thing — it’s just so many things here. Hopefully we all figure it out.”

Rivers was candid with his comments, but his words were also to be expected.

Every coach in the league wants the option to make personnel decisions from night-to-night based on whatever criteria they feel is best — for their individual team, and for that individual game.

Stern’s hefty fine makes it a little trickier to do that moving forward, though something tells me that coaches as wily as Rivers and Popovich will always find a way to make their own decisions.

  1. gatordontplay - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I expect him to get fined for disagreeing with league

  2. elwaysmilehighdenver - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    NBA dictator’s gavel hits again. This bozo’s ego is bigger than Shaq’s shoes!
    Sterns retirement can’t come soon enough. What a clown move!

  3. chris3141084 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I want a coach to put a starting lineup of injured stars. With the excuse to be along the lines “sorry, I’m not allowed to sit my players.” Or next time it will be like the NFL and the starters play one play so they can continue their start streaks. I wonder if Stern would like that.

    • BigBeachBall - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      the next commish(whoever it is) would probably levy the same exact fine… and the next commish… and the next one…

  4. scalfor3 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Can Stern fine Doc for limiting KG’s minutes? Apparently Stern can do anything

  5. zblott - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    More people need to start realizing how easy it is to apply Stern’s completely stupid and short-sighted precedent to other teams that aren’t doing what’s best for tonight’s TV ratings for the sake of down-the-road’s championship chances.

  6. butterfacesareok - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    He sat them so in the finals if its miami and san antonio they wont have anything to go off of as far as matching up other than whats on tape, its always better to keep a team guessing, well worth 250,000, even though the fine is ridiculous, spurs know what kind of team they are and dont need to play the heat, but heat have always had identity issues! Smart move

  7. jucam1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I think Stern should be forced to quit over this insane fine!…. How can you tell a team NOT to run itself to the best of its potential!… This is asinine!

  8. tombstone7 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Doc is right. David Stern is power struck and believes he is bigger than the sport. Former NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien had more class and respect for the decisions the coaches made. With Stern, its all about him, the JackAss !

  9. j0esixpack - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    I assume this means Stern won’t take any time off during the season either

  10. eventhorizon04 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Here are the “unintended consequences” part of Stern’s actions.

    Doc Rivers (and other coaches) openly rest their starters more as the playoffs approach. They’ve been doing it for years, and David Stern didn’t complain about it, send them warnings, etc.

    Now, those coaches don’t know how much rest is “allowable.”
    Is it only punishable to bench the starters for nationally televised games?
    Or was it because it was early in the season?
    Would it have been okay if the starters played just a few minutes – like 10?

    Etc. etc.

  11. rickeydynamite25 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Doc sure is in everybody’s business lately. First he disliked the way the Lakers handled the coaching change, now he’s in the Spurs business. Doc SHOULD be worried about Paul Peirce’s broken ankles since everybody keeps shaking him outa his damn shoes. Pick yaself up Paul…

    • andyhr17 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      How is commenting that it was dumb of the league to fine the Spurs “in everybody’s business”? Pierce is averaging 19-6-3, on par with his season averages lately.

      How about you “stay out of Doc’s business”.

      • rickeydynamite25 - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM


    • paulwoodsby - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:38 AM

      Many people have commented on the ridiculous fine. People respect Doc River’s opinion so they print it. Lay off Doc Rivers, he knows what he’s talking about.

  12. ninthwardfriend - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I’m with Doc!!!! Stern is a dick.

  13. cowboychris5xchamps - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I can’t wait til this loser leaves the NBA for good!!! I don’t know who’s worse David Stern or Bud Selig!!!

    • tcclark - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Stern by a mile. As sad as it is, Selig is the one I have the least issues with. The real question should be, who’s worse David Stern or Gary Bettman?

      I honestly can’t choose

  14. ezzz2the - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Stern needed to fine the schedule makers not SA, why put the Spurs on a back to back if the national tv game is so important

  15. lemfaxx - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Stern. He better buy his own team & coach them upon his retirement.

  16. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Another day, another opinion from Doc.

    When Docs an analyst on ESPN next year, he’s going to be well prepared.

  17. j0esixpack - Dec 1, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Of course Stern always gets the last laugh.

    Doc shouldn’t be surprised to see a trend of calls going against him when the officials have a chance to decide games

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      Celtics fans have had a ref conspiracy complex since the days of Red Auerbach, but they still won. Great teams find a way to win, even if Chancellor David Corporate Hack Stern don’t approve.

  18. casualnbafan - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    if stern is so concerned about having teams “disservice” the league and/or the fans, he should also be penalizing teams that just plain suck. take it to another level by also doing it to teams that lose by a certain number of points. maybe do it to teams that has a lot of players injured. and while were at it, why not do it to individual players that suck? the possibilities are endless.

    please retire already Mr.Stern. PLEASE!

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