Bulls not concerned about Spurs’ $250K fine from NBA
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media November 30, 2012 9:34PM
Tom Thibodeau might want to rest Derrick Rose after he returns from his knee injury. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
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Updated: January 2, 2013 6:13AM
It was easy for Tom Thibodeau to play the role of diplomat regarding his stance on San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich’s decision to rest healthy players Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green for a nationally televised game Thursday in Miami.
Popovich sent all four players back to San Antonio on a commercial jet before the game, the Spurs’ fourth in five nights.
Unlike Popovich, Thibodeau has a relatively young roster and doesn’t have the same long-term health concerns for his players.
“I have a hard enough time worrying about my own team,” Thibodeau said. “I think every team understands where they are, and you have to do what’s best for your team. But I also think you’re part of the league, too. You’ve got to pace your team, and you play the guys that you think you should play.”
Though Popovich has rested healthy players in the past without repercussions, the NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 on Friday.
The concern with the NBA’s decision is that it could be a precursor to the league determining the veracity of any player sitting out a game, healthy or injured.
Thibodeau’s comments came hours before the fines were announced. But when asked whether he thought potential disciplinary action could cause fallout leaguewide, he didn’t believe it would have any impact on the Bulls.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Thibodeau said. “It’s not my issue. But you always want what’s best for the league.”
Duncan and Ginobli are 36 and 35 years old, respectively. Backup center Nazr Mohammed (35) and starting guard Rip Hamilton (34) are the Bulls’ oldest players, but they aren’t nearly as important to the Bulls as Duncan and Ginobli are to the Spurs.
But it’s possible that when Derrick Rose returns from his torn anterior cruciate ligament, Thibodeau won’t let his star play if he believes Rose needs a rest.
So it was prudent that Thibodeau noted the issue needs to be treated on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s each individual case,” he said. “There’s two sides to it. I certainly understand where Pop’s coming from. Pop’s one of the all-time great coaches, so I’d never question what he’s doing with his team. I think he understands his team. He understands the makeup of his team, and he understands the age of his team. Those things are all critical. And I think the commissioner is always charged with doing what he thinks is best for the league. And so there’s two sides to it.”