Stern did the right thing, Pop deserved fine for flopping

Spurs coach ignored fans, league to rest stars

This just in: The Rolling Stones announced they are holding out Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood for next Saturday's concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They're old and tired, and have been on the road forever, you see.

They're saving their strength for the next show, in Newark, on Thursday.

OK, not true. But wouldn't you be ticked if you had Stones tickets?

Another old group of stars playing for the San Antonio Spurs sat out Thursday night's game in Miami. Heat fans could get no satisfaction as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were no-shows.

Commissioner David Stern, acting in the best interest of the game, was right to fine the Spurs $250,000 on Friday. But he should have suspended coach Gregg Popovich for a game after the stunt he pulled.

Popovich sent his three aging stars, plus Danny Green, to San Antonio from Orlando to rest up for Saturday's home game against Memphis.

Popovich ripped off customers who pay the high ticket prices for a marquee matchup; thumbed his nose at viewers and the NBA's network partner, TNT, which helps pay all the ridiculous salaries; and embarrassed a league that promotes its stars 24-7.

He treated it like it was a preseason game – in November..

Why? Because Pop said the Spurs were fatigued, dragging after extensive road trips.

Poor babies.

I'm sure there's 9-to-5 people everywhere who wanted to take off Thursday, too.

Apparently, the Magic took it all out of the Spurs in losing by 21 points on Wednesday night. The Magic can do that to you now that they don't have Dwight Howard … oh, wait a second.

The Spurs made such short work of the Magic that Ginobili played 23 minutes, Duncan 27 and Parker 29. Pop's 30-something stars were still so exhausted they couldn't take the 30-minute plane ride to South Beach.

Pop made certain he got the win in Orlando, routing his former player and assistant coach, Jacque Vaughn. He then bailed on the Heat, leaving the Spurs with an excuse.

Most writers are backing Pop. They say it's his team, he can do whatever he wants. And besides, he's given his stars nights off before.

Yeah, and Stern should have addressed the no-show issue with the Spurs back then.

Pop cannot do whatever he wants. This isn't his league. He needs to keep the integrity bar high. Why couldn't he parcel minutes against Miami? Isn't that why the Spurs have a bench?

I'm more disappointed why Duncan, Parker and Ginobili wouldn't want to play the Heat. Could you see Michael Jordan skipping out?

Mostly, how can Popovich's defenders be so blind to the fans? Oh, yeah: Writers don't have to pay $80-$100 for a good seat.

One argument for Pop goes like this: He's brazenly telling the league that the scheduling is ridiculous. OK, coach, so you want to shorten the 82-game season -- with everyone taking pay cuts?

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