The San Antonio Spurs are most known for being a winning franchise, but they're also known for being at the forefront of a controversial practice.
Back as early as the 2010s, Coach Gregg Popovich started instituting rest days for some guys on the roster either battling nagging injuries or age. The Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker became the poster boys of what became known around the league as "load management" across the league. Later, that mantle was passed to Kawhi Leonard.
As often happens, many began to copy the practice that Popovich made popular. Many even sacrificed money, as he often did to preserve his players for long title runs. One could argue that the abundance of back-to-backs and wear and tear of an 82-game season made this strategy justified. Commissioner Adam Silver, however, predictably isn't a fan.
Addressing a question on the practice of resting uninjured players, Silver singled out Spurs executive R.C. Buford and the Spurs as being responsible for starting it all. Of course, he said so with a smile and chuckle, so it's not really a huge deal in my mind. But I have to believe there's at least a hint of a grudge Silver has toward San Antonio's front office for making the practice trendy.
Spurs fans defend San Antonio's trend-setting practice
Of course, Spurs fans aren't the type to let things slide, and they had plenty to say to Mr. Silver in response to his comments.
Some were quick to point out that Silver's recent addition of the NBA Play-In Tournament and rumors of a mid-season tournament are ironic when you consider the reason for load management in the first place.
While Silver's quip was mostly in jest, it's true that the Spurs often get blamed for beginning load management, which is a practice every team in the league now uses. He might want to start focusing on how to reduce the toll a season takes on his players before getting too cute with further tournaments and ventures.
As for the Spurs, considering their strategy played a big part in winning a fifth championship, I don't think the team or its fans would do anything differently if they could.