Former NBA commissioner David Stern was never one to shy away from expressing his opinion. Whether that was taunting the audience on draft night for booing him or making digging remarks to a twice-jilted Seattle market of fans, Stern received and accepted the reactions that came from those opinions.
Even out of the full position of NBA commissioner — he carries the title of commissioner emeritus now — he’s still voicing what’s on his mind. This time, it’s directed at the Brooklyn Nets, the team that, for the final game of the season, benched Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker.
USA TODAY’s Sam Amick discussed this with Stern on the NBA A to Z podcast Tuesday:
“I have no idea what was in the mind of the executives of the Brooklyn Nets — none — when they rested their starting players,” Stern told Amick. “If you’re playing in a game of consequence, that has an impact, which is as good as it gets (you should play your players). Here we are, the Brooklyn Nets are out of the running. They have the lowest record in the sport. But they have an opportunity to weigh in on the final game with respect to Chicago. And they sit their starters? Really? It’s inexcusable in my view. I don’t think the Commissioner maybe can, or even should, do anything about it. But shame on the Brooklyn Nets. They broke the (pact with fans).”
The Bulls’ victory over half of the Nets’ team pushed Chicago into a first-round matchup with the Celtics and eliminated the Heat from the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Stern didn’t mention the fact the Nets have no reward in sight for their miserable season, either. The Celtics will get the Nets’ draft pick, no worse than third overall, due to a 2013 trade that brought in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and D.J. White from Boston for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and three first round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018), as well as the right to swap first round picks in 2017.
The fact the Celtics were obviously going to swap first-round picks with the Nets, suggesting New Jersey had nothing to play for, makes it even weaker that they decided to rest three key players in a meaningless game for them.
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