Spurs coach Gregg Popovich insists he ensures his aging stars escape the NBA grind as best they can. So much that he sat Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Gerald Green in the team’s 105-100 loss Thursday to Miami.
NBA commissioner David Stern seems adamant that nothing compromise his brand and TV ratings. So much that he levied a $250,000 fine against the Spurs for leaving their stars out of a TNT-broadcast game.
Nearly 3,000 miles away, the Lakers mostly played the role of Switzerland.
Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t want to offend Stern: “I’m glad the commissioner is the commissioner. I think everybody has an opinion. But it’s not my place to have one.”
Lakers center Dwight Howard didn’t want to involve himself in any controversy: “It has nothing to do with the Lakers. It has nothing to do with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
But there was one veteran who sounded more than eager in giving enlightened perspective.
“I thought as a coach you can do what’s best for your team,” Lakers forward Antawn Jamison said. “But with the ratings, being on TNT and people seeing the San Antonio Spurs play Miami, David has a different agenda. It didn’t surprise me he rested those guys. It surprised me the NBA said something.”