Spurs second/third team nearly beat defending champs

In a move that would not normally be scrutinized, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich decided to send his big three plus one back home to San Antonio to rest up and prepare for the NBA leading Memphis Grizzlies.

But, with rare exception, NBA Commissioner David Stern took umbrage with Pop’s move and found it necessary to issue the following statement:

“I apologize to all N.B.A. fans.  This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs, and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

For Popovich, it is all about strategy and the health of his team.

“Perhaps it’ll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night,” Popovich told reporters before the game. “Historically, when you’re on a long road trip, that first game when you come home is really tough. And Memphis is one of the best teams in the league. They’re of much more concern to us than playing four games in five nights. It’s pretty logical.”

While there was no intentional snub on Pop’s part, he must have known that the commissioner would not appreciate the move with only two NBA games scheduled Thursday night.  But, when Popovich did pretty much the same thing back in April against the Utah Jazz, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the following:

“The strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams.”

So whether or not the NBA decides to “sanction” the Spurs remains to be seen but it hardly matters to Pop as Gary Neal made this point.

“Coach Pop is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, and he did what’s best for us.”

The Spurs face the Memphis Grizzlies on December 1st.



NBA weighs retroactive penalties for floppers

MIAMI — David Stern is determined to stop the floppers, even if it takes until the next morning.

The NBA commissioner and the league’s competition committee met Monday and had a discussion about players deceiving referees into calling fouls by falling down, or flopping.

Stern says one option could be a “postgame analysis” in which players could be penalized if it was determined he flopped. He says the league wants to find a way to “put a stake in the ground that says this is not something that we want to be part of our game.”

The committee also discussed expanding instant replay for flagrant fouls and goaltending, and seemed to favor leaving the away from the ball foul rule as is, so coaches could continue to foul bad free throw shooters.

Could you accept the Spurs as walking billboards?

NBA owners will meet later this month to discuss a proposal to allow small advertisements to appear on player jerseys.

It’s not unusual in professional sports. Some WNBA teams have already pioneered this trend. And it’s been happening for many years in Europe where soccer players, basketball players and others have appeard with advertisements splashed across their jerseys. NFL teams have dabbled in this revenue source on practice wear, but not on game uniforms.

Obviously,  it would be a huge additional revenue source for NBA owners. And players, no doubt, would want a cut of any money that might accrue from this source.

NBA commissioner David Stern said during last year’s work stoppage that the league has been losing more than $300 million each year, with 73 percent of teams losing money (22 of 30).

Business Week.com reports that a study by Horizon Media last year put the of the space across an NBA jersey’s chest in a range from $4.1 million for the Los Angeles Lakers to $300,000 for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“When you look at the revenue streams left available, jersey branding is the most significant that hasn’t been exploited,” David Abrutyn, head of global consulting at sports marketing firm IMG Worldwide, told Business Week.com.

So what kind of businesses would work best with the Spurs?

Would it be a local business giant like USAA that has a large existing sponsorship with the team work best? Or could we see Peter Holt slap a logo of a farm-implement company that works closely with his company?

What business do you think would work best as a jersey sponsor for the Spurs? And what are some other choices around the league for specific teams? 

How about French-based Maille Dijon mustard, in honor of Tony Parker and Boris Diaw. Or Vise-Grip pliers in honor of Kawhi Leonard’s lockdown defense? Or Geritol for Tim Duncan’s renaissance this season at the age of 35? Or Whataburger to extoll the virtues of DeJuan Blair, who occasionally can be one of their best customers?

As always, I’m interested in your responses.