NBA commish warns of 'significant penalties' for teams resting players

NBA commish warns of 'significant penalties' for teams resting players

MIAMI -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to the league's board of governors Monday, calling the way teams are choosing to rest starters in some games "an extremely significant issue for our league" and pressing owners to be more involved in the decision-making process.

Silver also told the owners that the matter will be discussed at league meetings next month after nationally televised games on back-to-back Saturday nights were diluted by decisions to rest star players.

"Decisions of this kind ... can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation and damage the perception of our game," Silver wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press. "With so much at stake, it is simply not acceptable for governors to be uninvolved or to defer decision-making authority on these matters to others in their organizations."

ESPN.com first reported the contents of the memo.

The rest issue has been an even hotter-than-usual talking point in the NBA of late with teams like Golden State and Cleveland - the last two NBA champions - electing to rest superstars in recent nationally televised games. Fans have complained on some occasions that they have paid a premium price to see stars play, then arrived at arenas only to find that those players are getting the game off.

It also can't sit well with the networks that paid $24 billion to the NBA in the latest television contract negotiations.

"Please also be reminded that under current league rules teams are required to provide notice to the league office, their opponent and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest," Silver wrote. "Failure to abide by these rules will result in significant penalties."

The Warriors chose to rest Stephen CurryKlay ThompsonDraymond Green and Andre Iguodala for a nationally televised game against San Antonio on March 11. Coach Steve Kerr said he did it in response to a grueling stretch of the schedule that included eight games in eight different cities in 13 days.

"It's my call, and it's the right thing to do in terms of the way the season is playing out and the way the minutes have gone and (Kevin Durant's) injury," Kerr said when he announced the decision after a game against Minnesota the previous night. "It's the right thing to do, so we're doing it."

LeBron JamesKyrie Irving and Kevin Love rested for Cleveland against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, though Irving and Love were both dealing with recent injuries.

It is not a new issue, though Silver noted that its frequency has escalated this season.

San Antonio was fined $250,000 by then-NBA commissioner David Stern in the 2012-13 season when coach Gregg Popovich sent Danny Green, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili home for rest on Nov. 29, 2012, rather than having them play Miami in the final game of a six-game road trip.

Stern said the fine was due to a litany of transgressions, but primarily because San Antonio did not alert the league or media of the players' unavailability prior to the game. Since then, the Spurs have announced in advance which players will rest.

Silver has said the league is very sensitive to players needing as much rest as possible to perform at their best and avoid injury. The league will start the regular season earlier next year so it can reduce the number of back-to-backs and stretches of four games in five nights that teams face.

 

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn -- Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, and the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 Thursday night to take the series 4-2.

The Spurs now have beaten Memphis four of the five playoff series between these teams, and this was San Antonio's second straight win over the Grizzlies in the first round.

Tony Parker added 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench for the Spurs. San Antonio outrebounded Memphis 46-28, with 16 of those offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points.

Their semifinal with Houston will start Monday night in San Antonio.

Mike Conley scored 26 points, leading the five Memphis starters in double digits. Marc Gasol added 18, Zach Randolph 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Carter had 12 points.

The Grizzlies fell to 3-10 in elimination games, losing six straight.

This was a taut game with 16 ties and nine lead changes, especially with four ties in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs took control after the Grizzlies went up 88-81 on three free throws from Conley with 6:29 left. Then Leonard scored eight straight for San Antonio, starting a 22-8 run to finish the game.

Even with Conley and Gasol a combined 2 of 10 in the first quarter, the Grizzlies trailed only 24-22 after Conley knocked down a 3 at the end of the quarter for his first bucket of the game. Conley hit another 3 for the final shot in the second quarter, putting Memphis up 50-45. The team that led at halftime won each of the first five games.

Parker hit his first six shots before finally missing his seventh with 29 seconds left in the first half.

The Grizzlies took their biggest lead at 57-47 on a 3-pointer by James Ennis III. That gave Memphis as many made 3s (9 of 17) as the Spurs had attempted (3 of 9) at that point. Randolph's layup with 7:19 left matched that 10-point lead at 63-53.

Then the Spurs went on a 13-3 run over a 4-minute span to erase that lead on Aldridge's three-point play at 67-66. Aldridge finished with nine points in helping the Spurs lead 75-74 at the end of the quarter.

TIP-INS

Spurs: They improved to 36-15 with a chance to clinch a series under coach Gregg Popovich, who took over in the 1996-97 season. ... Manu Ginobili converted a four-point play with 1:31 left in the third, putting the Spurs up 73-69. ... The Spurs wound up tying the Grizzlies' reserves with 16 points thanks to Mills.

Grizzlies: The Grizzlies set a franchise record hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half, topping the previous mark of seven in the second half May 1, 2005, against Phoenix. ... Conley has 20 or more points in five straight playoff games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

FREE THROW WATCH

Memphis coach David Fizdale earned a $30,000 fine from the NBA for his "Take that for data" rant about the free throw discrepancy in Game 2. Well, Leonard was 9 of 10 at the free throw line through three quarters compared to the Grizzlies' 7 of 8. The Spurs were 18 of 20 through three quarters. The Spurs finished 22 of 25 compared to 20 of 24 for Memphis.

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Steve Kerr did not coach in Game 3 or Game 4 against the Blazers and is out indefinitely.

On Thursday, Warriors GM Bob Myers spoke with Jim Rome about Kerr's situation.

“What he’s going through right now is not a product of stress, it’s not a product of coaching, it’s more a physical issue that will be solved," Myers started. "When it will be solved, no one can say. But it is solvable, it’s fixable and like I said, he’s going to coach, but right now he just can’t.

"There’s some things that need to be corrected. But I think he’ll get back. I’m very very confident he will be back coaching, I just can’t say when.”

Kerr was not at practice on Wednesday and is consulting with specialists at Stanford this week.

Kerr is finishing up Year 3 of the five-year deal he signed back in May 2014.

"I think this guy is going to coach for a long time, because he thoroughly enjoys it," Myers said. "He really loves the game, and he is a great teacher. And you’ve had him on, I’m sure you’ve met him and talked to him. It’s one thing to know the game, but he has the ability to communicate it and our players clearly respond.

"So I can see that’s why a question you’d ask I totally get it and other people have asked but no I think he’s going to be in this game for a long time, we just have to get him back healthy now.”

The Warriors' next practice and media availability is on Friday.

The next series against the Jazz or Clippers will start on either Sunday or Tuesday.