The commish presented the top 10 on “Late Show with David Letterman” Wednesday night, doing his best to crack some jokes. Stern was definitely Johnny stiffguy and his delivery could use some work, but we nonetheless appreciated his effort. And that Bar Mitzvah’d line was pretty money, we have to give him that.
Paul, now in his third season with the Clippers, was originally set to be traded to the Lakers as part of a three-team deal also involving the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets. Though a trade had been agreed upon that would have sent CP3 to the Lakers, the league, which was controlling the franchise after acquiring it from George Shinn, later turned down the deal for “basketball reasons.” Less than a week later, the Clippers pulled off a trade for Paul and have become the top team in the city.
Kupchak was speaking to fans at a season-ticket holder event on Sunday about how the new CBA has helped create more competitive balance within the league. He was complimentary of Stern for globalizing the game, but he mentioned the Paul trade.
“He’s done so much for this [league with] his vision,” Kupchak said via the Los Angeles Times. “. . . We’ll miss him, with the exception of one moment.”
Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, who was moderating the event, asked whether Kupchak had forgiven Stern for that.
“No I haven’t,” Kupchak answered.
We doubt that Lakers fans have, either. They probably will never get over the rejection of the deal, and the words “basketball reasons” will always be a sore spot for them. As for Kupchak, well, he usually finds a way to build a successful team, and we have no idea he’ll figure that out again.
Chest bump to Slam
At the end of his state of the league address prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, a reporter asked Stern where he hides all the dead bodies (likely in light of all the conspiracy theories the league has faced during his tenure). Stern played right along with the joke.
“I have a map and I’m going to put it in one of the envelopes I’m leaving for Adam [Silver],” he answered, per CBS Sports’ Zach Harper.
Silver is the man picked to succeed Stern as NBA commissioner next year. I’m sure he knows where all the bodies — and frozen envelopes — are located. Tim Donaghy probably does, too.
Commissioner David Stern threw a fit about the decision and is dropping the hammer.
“I apologize to all NBA fans,” he said in a statement issued before the game. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”
Popovich emphasized that the Spurs were not simply mailing it in because Miami is a tough opponent, but because of scheduling and old age. Thursday’s game was the fourth in five nights for the Spurs, and it marks the end of a six-game road trip. They have another big game at home against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
“We didn’t do it because it’s the Miami Heat,” Popovich told the media before the game. “It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat or TV or anybody. You deal with the schedule the best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team.
“If our best players were 23 years old or 25 years old, we might have done something different.”
Popovich is resting Tim Duncan, who is 36 years old; Tony Parker, who is 30; Manu Ginobili, who is 35; and Danny Green, who is 25. All have played at least 20 minutes per game during San Antonio’s five-game winning streak.
Resting his older players is something Pop has been doing for a few years. It’s not like this is a new strategy for him.
TNT commentators Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller defended Pop’s decision, and so do I.
I think it’s completely out of line for Stern to try to tell Popovich how to manage his players. NFL teams frequently rest star players towards the end of the season after clinching playoff spots regardless of whether they’re on national TV in primetime games. Whether the strategy works is debatable, but what is not debatable is whether a coach has a right to determine his players’ minutes.
If Stern is worried about fans not getting their money’s worth, he shouldn’t be; anyone watching still gets to see LeBron James and the Heat, which makes most tickets worth buying. And if he wants November regular-season games matter this much, then maybe he should limit the number of teams that make the playoffs. Also, why isn’t Stern looking at his scheduling people? Why did his office give the Spurs four games in five nights and put them on national TV against the Heat in November if he wanted the teams to be at their peaks? He should be reprimanding his schedulers instead of San Antonio.
Lastly, how can Stern release the statement before the game is played? For one day, who’s to say San Antonio’s secondary players can’t beat the Heat? The commissioner is clearly saying that the entertainment factor is much more important than anything else in the NBA, which is why they’ve been upset about the success of the “boring” Spurs all these years.
Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
David Stern may have had a senior moment on Tuesday night. Speaking before the Heat and Celtics tipped off in their first game of the new NBA season, the commissioner offered his thoughts to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The only problem? He mistakenly called it “Hurricane Katrina.”
“Before we begin, I know that everyone here and everyone watching has in their thoughts those who are affected by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath …”
The fans immediately began making noise, likely because they noticed his slip-up. We have no doubt that Stern knew the difference between the hurricanes, but sometimes people make mistakes while speaking live. This also might be the sort of reason the 70-year-old recently announced his retirement plans.
For a while it appeared as though Stan Van Gundy was going to join ESPN this upcoming season and help an NBA Countdown crew that was the target of a ton of criticism last year. According to The Big Lead, that is no longer the plan as David Stern has allegedly stepped in and blocked Van Gundy from joining the World Wide Leader.
On Wednesday, TBL called ESPN and a spokesman told the website that the network is going in a different direction after not being able to agree on what Van Gundy’s role would be. In an interview with Dan LeBatard on The Ticket in Miami Wednesday afternoon, Van Gundy said that is a total lie.
“No one at ESPN will tell us what happened,” Van Gundy explained. “Certainly the NBA office isn’t going to tell us what happened. One of the quotes from ESPN in there – we had discussions, but couldn’t agree on a role … as usual, that’s a bunch of BS from ESPN. We actually did agree on a role, but then they came back and pulled that. That’s when we knew something was up.
“What I find fascinating … you have to give David Stern and the NBA a lot of credit … ESPN pays the league, and then the league tells them what to do. It’s more ESPN’s problem. You gotta have no balls whatsoever to pay someone hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business.”
Van Gundy said ESPN claiming they disagreed on his role is a “flat out lie” and that it was simply a case of them making an offer and then pulling it back. As we have seen when he goes on rants like this one and this one, Stan is one of the most outspoken figures in basketball. Stern has ESPN in his back pocket, and it’s probably that outspokenness that he is afraid of.
David Stern was booed like usual when he stepped to the podium at the NBA Draft on Thursday. The commissioner was obviously prepared for the negative attention, and he even seemed to enjoy it. At one point he put his hand to his ear to indicate that he enjoyed the boos from the crowd, like he was encouraging them to bring it on (seen above).
It’s surreal that a person in Stern’s position would exhibit such unprofessional behavior. His arrogance and “bring it on” attitude reeks of a lack of respect for the fans. This seems to me like his way of saying “Yeah, we may have crooked refs, lottery-fixing accusations, and the villainous Heat winning titles, but you love it and can’t do anything about it.”