The NBA fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for excusing four players — guard Tony Parker, forward Manu Ginobili, F/C Tim Duncan and guard Danny Green — from Thursday night’s loss against the Miami Heat. The Spurs played five away games in the eight days coming into the contest, and they are one of the league’s older teams. Were league officials right to punish San Antonio because they blemished a potenital playoff-like match, or was Spurs head coach Greg Popovich correct to rest his waning stars?
Alex Rostowsky: Commissioner David Stern and his associates were absolutely wrong to fine the Spurs for resting its players. It seems as if the only reason the league got upset was because this game was a marquee matchup between two of the league’s best teams on a national network. What they didn’t realize was that the game was extremely competitive, even without the likes of Duncan and Ginobili. If the league was worried about the game being a dud, then it was wrong. I see this strictly as a monetary decision. When it comes down to it, the old Spurs could use a day or two off.
Demario Phipps-Smith: Popovich is the longest tenured coach in any major American sport, and he is the only active NBA coach to win multiple titles. As Dwayne Wade puts it, “I think he knows what he’s doing.” You get hired as head coach to win, and “Pop” has won consistently in the league during the course of his career. The NBA shouldn’t be able to fine coaches for strategies—especially ones that apparently work. The fans may not have had a chance to see the Spurs play against the defending champs at full strength, but Pop has a job to do.
Ben Conrady: The league has no reason to involve itself in personal decisions such as this. NBA teams compete with an overarching goal to win the championship. If Popovich chooses to rest his players, then he must believe it is his best move to get his team closer to its goal. The league has no place nosing into this situation.