SH Blog: Jeff Van Gundy, Wojnarowski and more react to David Stern’s fine

Like a tense political debate, the opinion on the subject appears to be pretty split among many players and writers. Not surprisingly, the only group that universally disagrees with what Stern did are other coaches. Here are the many reactions about Stern’s punishment from around the league:

George Karl tried his hardest to stay away from the topic and failed, from Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: “Before Thursday’s game in Golden State, Denver coach George Karl was asked about Pop’s decision. “I don’t think I’m touching this one – the only question I would ask is, is the commissioner in the right?” Karl said. “If you’re going to ask if Pop is in the right, you’ve got to ask if the commissioner is in the right. And I’m not answering either one. To me, how you coach the team should be on the organization and the coach.”

Never shy about sharing his opinion on air, Jeff Van Gundy blasted Stern’s action, from Ben Golliver of SI: ““To me, fine yourself too, $250,000, because you’re just as culpable for what happened in the league office as Gregg Popovich is,” Van Gundy said… “The commissioner to me, I understand his disappointment and frustration,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t understand him fining a team. This has been happening forever under his watch, healthy players sitting out games. I don’t understand the outrage today about that thing. Last year, Gregg Popovich sent all three guys home for two games at the end of the year. People said, ‘This one was on TV.’ Well, every regular season game is either important or it’s not. I just don’t understand opening up this can of worms.”

No one hit Stern harder on his decision than Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “Stern doesn’t care about the realities of his league, just the appearances. To him, the appearance on Thursday night was that Popovich had tried to embarrass him on national television and that’s why the commissioner tossed that tantrum. Apologize to the fans? In a league where the mere appearance of players on the floor doesn’t guarantee preparation and effort, the Spurs never cheat the public. They’re honest, in a way so few are honest. When too many others wear the uniform and yet still take the night off, the Spurs come to play – or they don’t come at all… In every way, Popovich let his players be the stars. He never self-promoted. He’s never done endorsements. Stern wanted a players’ league, and Popovich gave him the ultimate players’ program. It was team, team, team. Only, Stern couldn’t market it. He hated it. Four times they reached the NBA Finals, and Stern didn’t like the TV ratings of those series.”

LeBron James supported Popovich’s decision to sit his stars, from Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida: “In the court of opinion, though, most seem to be siding with Popovich. One reason is Stern’s statement gives the impression he’s an aging, vindictive guy trying to throw around as much power as he can before he retires Feb. 1, 2014. “I don’t think Pop was in the wrong,’’ said Heat forward LeBron James, who scored a game-high 23 points. “It’s not in the rules to tell you that you can’t not send your guys here or send your guys home. But the commissioner will make his decision, and everybody else will deal with it.’’

Byron Scott was certainly surprised about the extent of the fine, but doesn’t think it will impact coaching styles in general, from Jason Lloyd of Akron Beacon Journal: “BScott’s initial reaction to Spurs’ $250,000 fine: “Wow.” It would appear NBA Commissioner David Stern is headed down a slippery slope with his $250,000 fine of the Spurs for sending home a number of their best players prior to Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat. But Cavs coach Byron Scott doesn’t think it will impact the way teams handle their lineups. “I don’t know if it’s going to get to that point where you say, ‘We have to check with the league,'” he said. “I think most coaches are going to do what they feel is best for their players and their team.”


  1. Jim says

    Wow, 4 pages to read this whole article. I’m not sure how much longer I am going to stick with this website. I love the content, but why does Sheridanhoops choose to make it harder for readers to see the content? How about that column? Defend the change to your readers directly.

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