You can count NBA commissioner David Stern among those who are none-too-pleased about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his stars against the Heat tonight. Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida relayed a statement by Stern which indicated that "substantial sanctions will be forthcoming" as a consequence for San Antonio (Sulia link). Earlier, Popovich told reporters: "It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat, or TV, or anything…You deal with the schedule as best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team” (Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation reports). On another note, here's what we're hearing out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Later in his column, Ken Berger of CBS Sports credits a source that says Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni would like to have Nate McMillan as his top assistant for the 2013-14 season if he isn't given a head coaching job by then.
- Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets writes that if injury-riddled Houston isn't able to get well anytime soon, then "different remedies will be in order." While it may not explicitly imply a roster move, Feigen acknowledges that without Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, the team is short-handed on the wings.
- With Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger out, as well as Andrei Kirilenko dealing with back spasms, Timberwolves forward Josh Howard finds himself thrust into the starting lineup yesterday against the Clippers. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes that Howard still considers himself in training camp but remains confident about handling the opportunty for more playing time.
- With the Thunder going 6-1 over their last seven games, Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK recognizes Russell Westbrook's passing ability as a major component of the team's recent success.
- While head coach Rick Carlisle doesn't see the Derek Fisher signing as a "cure-all" to the Mavericks' challenges, he welcomes the 38-year-old veteran's experience and leadership abilities at the point guard position, writes Earl K. Sneed of NBA.com.
- Mike Trudell of Lakers.com writes about the adjustments that Pau Gasol has had to make on both ends of the floor, particularly on defense, where the power forward position in the NBA can provide significantly different types of matchups for the Lakers depending on their opposition.
- Clippers guard Jamal Crawford talks to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld about having a career year for a team expected to be a playoff contender.
- Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com briefly sheds light on rookie Quincy Miller and his opportunity with the Iowa Energy of the NBDL.