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Souhan blog: Spurs' Popovich was wrong

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • November 30, 2012 - 8:08 AM

Last night in Miami, in a nationally-televised game that had to be a prime ticket on South Beach, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn't even bring along three of his best players.

He put Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker on a flight home to San Antonio instead of having them dress for the game against the Heat.

He was wrong, and I'm amazed at how many of my peers are either defending Popovich or ripping commissioner David Stern for threatening sanctions.

It would be one thing to play his stars limited minutes. How he uses his stars in the course of a game is beyond the reach of the commissioner or anyone else. When he doesn't bring them to the arena, he is begging to be punished.

As for those ripping Stern for threatening sanctions, well, just because he's made mistakes during his career doesn't disqualify him from trying to make good decisions moving forward.

The NBA is an entertainment entity. It is dependent upon television ratings and attendance. Sending the signal that you don't care about winning regular-season games, that you don't care about even competing in certain regular-season games, is wrong. It's bad for business. It's bad for the league's image. That puts this in Stern's court.

Popovich is a great coach, but his arrogance leads him to forget why he's making millions of dollars. He's making millions of dollars because his league is popular. When he damages the reputation of his team and his league, he is begging to be fined or suspended.

The fact that some teams tank at the end of seasons doesn't make what Popovich did on Thursday night right. Tanking needs to be addressed, as well.

Stern isn't overstepping in addressing this. He's doing his job.

-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 today with Reusse and Mackey. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

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