Spurs Fined for Sitting Starters: Is David Stern Doing the Right Thing?

Andres MonteroContributor INovember 30, 2012

Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NBA commissioner David Stern in attendance of the game between the Phoenix Suns against the San Antonio Spurs at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Heat hosted the Spurs Thursday night in a nationally televised game. Prior to the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided to send four of his five starters home, including Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Commissioner David Stern lived up to his last name by saying he would hand out sanctions to the Spurs for sending their starters home.

Today, ESPN reported that Stern would hand out a $250,000 fine to the Spurs for that "offense". Stern claims that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and its fans by sitting their top players in their only visit to Miami.

Gregg Popovich has been resting his starters for years now. In a stretch of five games in seven nights, it's no surprise that Popovich made this move.

Duncan and Ginobili aren't getting any younger, and while Parker barely turned 30 this year, Popovich has always had a tendency to rest all three of them together.

Stern justified the fine by saying the fans were being robbed of a good game, but the game itself was a close one; it was a tight game late in the fourth quarter until Ray Allen hit a three-point shot to essentially close it out, 105-100.

It would be more understandable if the Heat had won in a dominating fashion, but the Spurs were in the game the entire night, so the fine seems unnecessary and excessive.

The Spurs organization should be able to run their team how they want. It was their fourth game in five nights, with another game in just two days. Resting an old Tim Duncan, an oft-injured Ginobili and keeping Parker fresh was the right move for the Spurs in order to stay healthy for the playoffs.

Stern can fine whoever he wants, however much he wants, but now he's getting involved in how teams are being run which takes away from the game. Popovich will continue to rest his players throughout the season, so it will be interesting to see if Stern takes action again.