TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott suspects that it might:
David Stern has more than a little power, which is especially clear when players really break the rules.
After the unrestrained brawl known as “the Auburn Hills incident,” for example, the fortunes of the Pacers and Pistons franchises and several players hung in the balance. Were there hearings to be had? Was there testimony? Is there a judge or a panel that metes out punishments in such cases? Are there published guidelines?
There is none of that. In that case, and in many other cases, the commissioner essentially has the right to punish players as he sees fit…
…Hunter said a couple of weeks ago that his list of “B” issues runs to six pages of “issues that are very important that we have yet to resolve.”
Asked to name some of the issues on his “B” list Hunter first identified the league’s age limit, and then named just one other: “commissioner discipline.”
We’ve gotten used to swift justice being handed out by the commissioner when players step out of line. While a more democratic process would certainly seem like a good idea in theory, Stern’s first priority is generally damage control, as he is still attempting to get mainstream America to embrace the NBA game the same way they embrace the college game every March.
If swift suspensions aren’t handed down when players run into the stands and start punching people, that goal could become harder to attain. Still, fair is fair, and the argument that Stern has too much power when handing out suspensions has merit to it on an ideological effort. The players may also want the controversial “dress code” revoked — personally, I like seeing players in business clothes when they’re not playing (and it’s often mutually beneficial — how much extra endorsement money do you think Michael Jordan made during his career for suiting up after games), but ultimately the players should get to decide what they want to wear if they’re not playing. And if this lockout agreement blows up because of a hooded sweater impasse, I will actually go insane.
The NBA has announced that Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be suspended for the first five games of the regular season for his flying elbow shot to Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Mavericks-Lakers playoff series. Bynum will also be fined $25,000 for “the manner in which he left the court.”
There’s not much to say about Bynum’s play that hasn’t already been said. It was a dangerous play, it was a dirty play, it was a classless play, and it was an unnecessary play that put a black mark on Phil Jackson’s last game as an NBA coach. This was absolutely a suspension that Bynum deserved given the circumstances of the game, the potential for serious injury the hit caused, and Bynum’s history of dangerous plays.
The 23-year old Bynum is the only Laker starter under the age of 30, and he will likely be a centerpiece of the team going forward. He emerged as one of the best young centers in the league this season, but it is clear that Bynum has some maturing to do if he wants to be a team leader going forward.
UPDATE 10:42 pm: Lakers coach Phil Jackson spoke about Barnes and said it’s all good to come to the aid of a teammate, but you better know the situation.
“He’s definitely got to check that stuff at the door in the playoffs,” Jackson said. “You can’t play short-handed in the playoffs.”
Asked if he was proud to see Barnes stand up for a teammate, Jackson said, “The valor about standing up for a teammate that’s been fouled in a way that’s not part of our game, we admire that. But it’s got to be checked off when it comes to playoff time.”
6:42 pm: The NBA has announced that Matt Barnes will be suspended one game for his role in last night’s altercation between the Lakers and Mavericks. In addition to having to deal with being called “soft as toilet paper” by Jason Terry after the game, Barnes will also have to sit and watch the next Laker game. Here’s the NBA’s official release on Barnes’ suspension:
NEW YORK, April 1, 2011 – Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers hasbeen suspended one game without pay for escalating an on-courtaltercation and actions following his ejection, it was announced todayby Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred with 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter of theLakers’ 110-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center onMarch 31. Barnes will serve his suspension tonight when the Lakersvisit the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.