His team’s rivalry with the Spurs notwithstanding, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would seem to be a prime candidate to defend them after they were saddled with one of the largest fines in NBA history for resting players leading up to last Thursday’s game at Miami.
After all, Cuban made a second career out of antagonizing NBA commissioner David Stern and his minions, earning more than a million dollars in penalties during his controversial tenure.
But Stern’s arch nemesis not only supports his decision to penalize the Spurs $250,000
, Cuban thinks the sum could have been even stiffer.
Cuban cited the need to protect the league’s national television contracts, which he called the “the money train.” He spoke after Gregg Popovich and the Spurs drew Stern’s ire for choosing to send home four players, including Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, prior to last Thursday’s game against Miami on TNT.
As reported by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon: “Look, I respect the Spurs,” Cuban said. “Pop is the best coach in the league. I understand why he did it. I might even take the fine if it was us, but I understand why the league (fined the Spurs). It maybe should have even been higher, because the amount at stake is enormous. “We’re still a business. Resting the stars for the long haul one game earlier, one game later, sure. Resting when you’ve got our biggest customer at stake, that’s a whole different animal. I’m not saying the Mavs wouldn’t have done the same thing, but I realize that it’d be a fineable offense. And if it was me, it’d probably be 10 times as much.”
Cuban also criticized the scheduling that forced the Spurs to play four games in five days. “It’s just as stupid to put a team in their fourth game in five nights on national television,” he said. “That’s just as dumb. You’re not going to get as good of a performance, and that’s what you want to show. “So I guess you can make the counter-argument that even though the Spurs did what they did, the league was just as guilty for putting them in that position, which was pretty stupid.” Spurs Nation