Wood's Word: Coach fined for resting stars again

The National Basketball Association produces some of the most exciting and enjoyable sporting events in the world.

The attention received by the NBA is due mostly to the stardom of its athletes. These professional competitors are occasionally treated as gods walking among the humans of the earth. They represent the league and are international icons.

As if their fame weren’t sufficient, one could say they are paid like gods as well. According to http://hoopeduponline.com/, the top 10 NBA salaries for just the 2012-13 season range from $18-25 million. I didn’t know that number existed.

So, because of the fame and recognition these professional athletes receive, it is logical to suggest that many of us foolish mortals would hope to see them compete at some point in our lifetimes. The day I saw John Stockton play ranks amidst the day of my birth and the first time I had a Five Guys burger.

That being said, a bit of a controversy has shown itself in the world of professional basketball. The San Antonio Spurs — known Utah Jazz-killers and holders of one of the league’s best records — were recently set to take on the defending NBA Championships team of the Miami Heat. Miami is home to one of the most-recognized athlete trios in the country with names like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. These three players hold spots 15-17 of the league’s top salaries, ranging from $15.5-16 million for the 2012-13 season.

Fixed to play on Thursday night, the Spurs and the Heat were preparing for their matchup that was to air on a nationally televised level. However, San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich made a questionable decision prior to the game and chose, for reasons of rest and health, to send home the team’s four biggest names — Tim Duncan (who holds a top-three spot at $21.3 million), Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green.

The decision to rest the Spurs’ superstar players was made due to their following matchup against the league-best Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

The decision resulted in a fine of $250,000 for the San Antonio organization.

Despite what could be argued about the following point, the reason for the fine is obvious — the NBA’s purpose is to generate profits. Its general purpose is to produce revenue and grow in fan support. The league loses support when the reasons for its fans’ ticket purchases are not playing on the court.

Popovich is no dummy. The two-time NBA Coach of the Year has taken the Spurs to four NBA title victories and has an overall winning percentage of .681. Popovich knows what it takes to win and apparently couldn’t care less about what the league’s leaders think of him.

The question remains, however, of whether or not the decision was correct on behalf of the Spurs. At nearly $50 per ticket, the fans expect to see their favorite players on the court. While winning is the key to the support of fans, it’s also a difficult decision to justify against the reigning NBA Championships on national TV.

Coach Popovich has made the decision to rest his starters before. In April of last season, just prior to the playoffs, the decision was made to send four key Spurs players in a game against none other than our very own Utah Jazz. Whether this decision didn’t merit a fine due to a smaller-market opponent in the Jazz or if Popovich simply reached Strike 3, we probably won’t find out.

Does it matter? Probably not. Not to Popovich, anyway.