A final Finals address from David Stern

A final Finals address from David Stern
June 6, 2013, 8:45 pm
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MIAMI — NBA commissioner David Stern has made no secret about wanting the league to punish players who flop.

But the current punishment -- a $5,000 fine -- doesn't go far enough.

Seven players have been fined during the postseason for flopping, while five were called for it in the entire league in the regular season (that does not include 14 players who received a "warning" for flopping).
 
"You're not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player's salary is $5.5 million," Stern said. "And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason. But you take a step and you begin to see it."

With more than a year's worth of data to work from now, look for the league's competition committee (Celtics coach Doc Rivers is a member) to look more closely at possible changes in the future.

Flopping was just one of several topics discussed by Stern who held his NBA Finals press conference for the final time as the league's commissioner.

He plans to retire on Feb. 1, 2014, passing the reigns on to his longtime No. 2 man, Adam Silver.

Even though this will be his last such press conference, Stern isn't exactly in a sentimental mood right now.

"It is not in my nature to stop and savor," he said. "My colleagues are all laughing at me in the front row. We've got too much to do."

Stern added, "I do know every day that I have the best job in the world, and I'm looking forward to handing over the gonfalon to Adam who will then have the best job in the world."

Other topics discussed by Stern included:

Instant replay
"We want to get it right," Stern said. "And we do have concerns about additional replay, but we're looking at it. We're actually even toying with the notion of whether replay can be done off-site review, the way it's done in the NHL, to relieve the burden on the referees, who are stuck in the middle of intense game-time action."

Resting players in season
San Antonio was hit with a $250,000 fine after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green
back to San Antonio on the eve of a nationally televised game against Miami in November.

Stern has no regrets about the fine, which in some circles was seen as a strategic move on Popovich's part to rest some of his core players against a team that as it turned out, would face in the Finals.

"Pop is a great coach, a Hall of Famer, and a visionary," Stern said. "But on this one he wasn't resting Danny Green. It was a game that was being played. I know it, you know it and he knows it. And maybe the game is successful, but I do think we have some obligation to our fans to come up with some system, despite the disclaimers of our owners that has some kind of guarantee that if you buy a ticket for a particular team, that you might see a representative sample of that team. And that's the dilemma recognizing that there are games to be played within games."

Attractive NBA Finals without big names or markets
Had Memphis knocked off the Spurs and Indiana found a way past Miami, a Memphis-Indiana Finals would have been in the eyes of many, a marketing nightmare for the league.

While there are some who might take that stance, Stern made it clear that's not the position of the league.

"It's our networks, it's the people who attribute views to us that we don't hold," he said. "In fact, everything that we have done in terms of collective bargaining is designed to level the playing field and allow teams that are well-managed, no matter what their market size, to be in the Finals actually speaks against the conclusion that has been pushed by the media.

Stern added, "we are delighted that teams in the lower half of the league, including Miami, have the opportunity to compete for a championship. And I think here we are this year probably having moved it a little bit further along where the event will define the teams rather than the teams defining the event. This is the NBA Finals."