During Friday’s ESPN broadcast of the Nuggets vs. Lakers game, color commentator Jeff Van Gundy shared his strong opinion on David Stern’s decision to fine the Spurs $250,000 for resting their four starters for Thursday’s game in Miami – and he didn’t hold back. The former NBA coach defended Popovich’s decision, saying he’s used this strategy in the past and has never received backlash.
According to SI.com:
“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.”
“The schedule that was put out is as much to blame as anything,” Van Gundy said. “You don’t have to play a national TV game on a back-to-back and you certainly don’t have to do it on four games in five nights. … It’s ridiculous to ask those guys to play four games in five nights on a national televised game when the other team is sitting there rested.”