The Hooley, Friday, 3-24

posted by Bruce Hooley -

Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. That's not how it works any more in the NBA, though.

Not if you believe the commissioner is anything other than an empty suit.

As the reigning NBA champions, you probably thought the Cleveland Cavaliers’ top priority would be winning another NBA title.

I thought that, too, until this week, when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver enlightened both me and the Cavs that they should care first and foremost about putting on a good show for the league's fans and, most importantly, its television broadcast partners.

Silver issued a sternly-worded prepared statement shortly after the Cavs sat LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love against the Los Angeles Clippers.

That game was part of ABC's Saturday Primetime package, which without the Cavs Big Three drew record low ratings and woke Silver from his slumber.

You see, a week before the Cavs rested their players in LA, the Golden State Warriors sat four starters at San Antonio.

What did Adam Silver say about that?

He said this:

I’m sympathetic to fans who... don’t see their favorite player on the floor (but)...there is that direct correlation that we’re aware of between fatigue and injuries. And as tough as it is on our fans to miss one of their favorite players for a game, it’s far better than having them get injured and be out for long periods of time."

So what changed from that measured -- sorry 'bout it, nothing I can do -- response to Silver's THIS MUST STOP NOW tantrum he threw after the Cavs rested their Big Three at Los Angeles.

I'll tell you what changed.

LeBron James sat out.

That's it.

That's the only difference.

If Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat at L.A. and LeBron played, there's not a peep of protest over this.

Let's compare, shall we?

The Warriors sat four starters, the Cavs sat 3.

The Warriors game at San Antonio had ramifications in the standings atop the Western Conference. Golden State was just a game and a half ahead of the Spurs when the Warriors tanked.

The Cavs game at the Clippers had no bearing in the standings.

If you ever wanted a clear demonstration of how important LeBron James is to the league, you got it with this fit thrown by Adam Silver.

Steph Curry, a two-time MVP sat out against San Antonio and the Commissioner said nothing.

But when LeBron sat, suddenly it's a federal case.

Now Silver demands that team owners be in on the decision when players sit out to get rest which is a ridiculous idea.

You don't have to take my word for it, you can take LeBron's word for it:

“There’s owners that are not even around the teams,” James said. “There’s owners that are just owning the team because they just own the team. What does that make any sense of? I don’t see why it’s become a problem now. Because I sit out a couple games?”

LeBron is right on this and not just because he agrees with me.

Think about it, isn't the best kind of owner in any professional sport an absentee owner who lets his general manager and coach make the decisions.

Now Adam Silver wants crazy James Dolan with the Knicks to decide player rotations and minutes restrictions.

Yes, that's one of the new wrinkles Silver introduced to prevent this sort of egregious resting of superstars that has the commissioner so upset.

Silver also said if teams don't notify the league, the media and the TV networks in a timely fashion that a superstar will sit, there will be, "significant penalties."

Like what?

A fine?

David Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs a quarter-of-a-million dollars for sitting stars in 2012.

That really put a stop to that, didn't it?

Here we are five years later and the Spurs are still the league's biggest offender when it comes to sitting guys out for no reason other than rest.

If the Commissioner is really serious about ending this issue it's pretty simple to fix.

The NBA has only about a half-dozen teams anyone wants to watch on national TV.

Get the schedule-maker to give the Cavs, Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder and Celtics the night off both before and after a national TV game.

If those teams aren't playing back-to-back or three games in four nights, the problem goes away.

What did the NBA expect when it gave the Cavs five back-to-backs in March and five stretches of three games in four nights?

Cleveland played eight back-to-backs combined in November, December, January and February, then, when it's trying to gear up for the playoffs, the league gives the Cavs five back-to-backs in March and three more in April?

Just for the sheer entertainment of it, I wish the Cavs would have sat the Big Three Friday at Charlotte and not given any advance warning.

I'd really get a kick out of seeing Adam Silver stomp his feet and hold his breath until he turned blue.

Because that's really all he can do when the defending NBA champions do exactly what they should be doing to try to defend their title.

Hey, look, someone’s updated Sean Miller’s Wikipeda profile after Arizona lost to Xavier.

I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling the Blue Jackets’ are going only as far as Sergei Bobrovsky carries them. Any NHL team is prisoner to its goaltender’s success, but the CBJ’s power play early in the season looked like it would be a season-long force.

Not so much, any more.

In a 2-1 shootout loss at Washington on Thursday, the CBJ had two third-period power plays and couldn’t score on the heels of getting a five-minute power-play Wednesday at home against Toronto.

The Jackets got off only one shot against the Leafs.

The CBJ are back in action Saturday afternoon at home against Philadelphia, needing a win to stay in contention for the President’s Cup.

Georgetown fired John Thompson Jr. this week. JT had it all rolling about the time Thad Matta took over at OSU. The Hoyas eviscerated the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, then the Thad Five arrived and Ohio State returned the favor the following season at the Final Four.

OSU has remained a fixture in the Top 25 for most of the succeeding 10 seasons, while Georgetown has faded.

So, you see, Thad haters, it can get a lot worse than it is.

Although, I admit I get misty thinking about an All-Ohio starting of Luke Kennard, Nick Ward, Nigel Hayes, Carlton Bragg and Esa Ahmad.

I find it interesting that Chris Webber is doing NCAA Tournament games on TNT. I covered Webber at the Final Four in 1992 and 1993. He did nothing but gripe about Michigan making money off his jersey sales to fans. Now, he's getting paid to do an event that brings the NCAA billions. And the players not one thin dime.

I stayed up to watch the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday night and didn't get to bed until 10. Since I got up at 3:30, it appears I did the show drunk on Friday morning. At least that's how it seems from this graphic on how less-than-ideal sleep has the same impact as having more than your share of suds.

 

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