Now that the fallout has occurred from “Rest-gate”, there is something that not only the Knicks but all teams have to look at regarding this incident. While granted that the Spurs did rest their players in a match up of heavyweights, there is a bigger precedence that is being over looked. That being, how much control/input should the NBA have? I mean the NBA and the teams are treading on a slippery slope with this issue; and; down the road the punishment and consequences could be greater. While the integrity of the game is important, teams should be allowed to use their own judgment on how to deal with their own players.
Now specifically for the Heat and Spurs game, what exactly drew the ire of Commissioner Stern? If Popovich would have kept the players in Miami and just not dress, would Stern’s reaction have been any different? Granted there is a lot of back story between the NBA and the Spurs franchise but all teams should be paying attention to the message that is being sent.
First off, was it the fact of sending the player’s home that was the problem? For playoff teams, if you got veteran players or a super star on the team, when is it okay to rest their legs or give them time to heal an injury before a playoff run? The alternative is to keep on putting the players on the court and run the risk of either making an injury worse or having a key veteran be too tired from the grind of an 82 game season.
Let’s take a look at Derrick Rose’s injury last season in the playoffs. Tom Thibodeau got a lot of second guesses as to keeping Rose in the game when the team was being blown out in the game. People were openly questioning his thought process and everything. Now let’s tweak the situation a little, let’s say if the Bulls had clinched home court advantage and played Rose in a game at the end of the season for fear of incurring the wrath of David Stern? What would be the NBA’s reaction to that? No matter how the NBA tried to spin it, the damage would be done and a real contender would have a large hole in their offense because they feared what the NBA may do if they rested a key player. Also there would be nothing the NBA could do for the team because it happened during the course of a game and is considered a calculated risk that each team takes when they take the court. So then the team is left to mitigate its own risk by limiting the minutes a player plays.
Keep in mind, if a team can get fined for resting their players in the first month of a season for a nationally televised game, what happens at the end of the season? Do teams get a bigger fine or other forms of punishment because a national television audience was expecting the superstars to play?
Now the NBA does have a duty to protect the integrity of the product and look at the big picture details of the product. They have to make sure that the customers are getting a good quality product; and; want to come back with their hard earned money in today’s economy. But they have to allow the individual teams run their own ship and make their own decisions.