David Stern calls Spurs resting starters 'unacceptable'

By Royce Young | Blogger

November 29, 2012 8:18 pm ET

'This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs,' David Stern says. (US Presswire)
The Spurs and Heat were getting set to play the marquee NBA game on Thursday. A Western powerhouse playing against the class of the East.
Except Gregg Popovich decided this would be a good time to rest four of his top five scorers.
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Tim Duncan all were late scratches for the game. The four actually aren't even in attendance as they were sent home early. And that's on top of Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson already being out.

This was not a popular decision by Popovich, but a move he's pulled in the past. Difference is, normally it's not during the spotlight Thursday game against maybe the league's most visible team.

And David Stern was not happy about it. The commissioner released a statement Thursday ripping the Spurs for the move.
"I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming."
That last part is curious, seeing as it's not exactly against league rules to sit players. USA Today noted a quote from deputy commissioner Adam Silver last April saying: "The strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams. And Gregg Popovich in particular is probably the last coach that I would second-guess."
The issue is what do you tell the paying fan who bought tickets for Thursday's game against the Heat, obviously an exciting, anticipated matchup? Popovich understands, but obviously doesn't care.
"Hopefully, [that fan] can see things from my perspective, too," he told reporters before the game.
Exactly what "substantial sanctions" means is unclear, but it will certainly be interesting to see what the league does.