May 03, 2005
Stern smacks Van Gundy

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy is $100,000 poorer today after getting fined by the NBA for his comments about refereeing in his team's playoff series.

The powers that be told the Houston Rockets' head coach to stop making an issue of the additional scrutiny on center Yao Ming by referees. Van Gundy didn't.

In return, the league slapped Van Gundy with a $100,000 fine the largest levied against an NBA head coach for comments he made Sunday about the pre-game process of determining "points of emphasis" for referees.


"I just said what I said," Van Gundy told reporters before Game 5 on Monday night. "I believe what I believe, and I've seen what I've seen. They have to do what is right. And if they think that's what's appropriate, and I should be fined the largest in history for that that's the worst thing that's happened in the NBA in the coaching perspective so be it."


NBA Commissioner David Stern, who was at American Airlines Center for Game 5, said Van Gundy's fine was especially stiff because he refused to cooperate with the NBA's investigation and because of comments that Stern said "set a new low."

When asked by league officials for the identity of his informant, Van Gundy refused to reveal his source, and that, according to Stern, is a violation of Article 24 of the NBA bylaws.

"It's just inappropriate," Stern said. "He was penalized for it. We'll see where we go from here.

"There were a lot of things that were done by innuendo but had the effect of using names. We're not going to tolerate it. We're not through with the affair yet. But for now, a $100,000 fine is a good intermediate step. The investigation is not closed. (Further discipline) is possible.

"If he's going to say things like that, he's not going to continue in this league. We're going to have to see. If the attitude reflected by those comments continues to be reflected publicly, he's going to have a big problem with me so long as I'm the commissioner." Stern said.

Sounds serious, though I'd bet Van Gundy will back down (or be made to) before words like "suspension" start floating in the air. Of course, the irony here is that a blown call at the end of the game gave the Mavericks an extra cushion down the stretch as they held on to be the first home team to win a game in this series. Not that anyone on the Rockets was going to complain about it, mind you. Commissioner Stern clearly made his point there.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 03, 2005 to Other sports | TrackBack

Because Yao Ming's footwork is horrible, he regularly throws out his arms on those moving screens that keep (rightly) getting foul calls. You can't do that.

All Van Gundy has done (besides wind up making some charity a lot richer, since I assume the NBA like most leagues donates these fines to charity) is draw extra scrutiny to Yao's poor fundamentals at setting a screen. I saw one such call last night in about five minutes of watching the game (I want to care about this team, but I just can't seem to, so five minutes was my limit). That may well be the difference in a pretty evenly matched series. Good job, Jeff!

Posted by: kevin whited on May 3, 2005 9:21 AM

Just like a Republican to watch 2 minutes of a game and think you know what you're talking about. "Because Yao's footwork is horrible" he only scored 30 points.

It's one thing to talk political smack, but downing your hometown team for no rhyme and with no reasons is just plain wrong.

Go Rockets, Beat the Mavs and the Refs (both were out of bounds last night).

Posted by: Red Dog on May 3, 2005 10:06 AM

When I grow up, I'm going to start my own rock band. And I will name it Van Gundy.

Posted by: Mark on May 3, 2005 9:39 PM


I don't think the fact Ming does move on his screen setting is the main point. Van Gundy expressed to the media that, according to his source, referees were going to watch Ming more closely because Mark Cuban complained to the league office. And Stern has the gall to kill the messenger as opposed to listening to the message--which in my opinion means Van Gundy was dead on accurate.

The NFL demotes and fines its referees for bad calls in its games. The NBA not only accepts it, but almost seems to condone it.

Posted by: Double B on May 3, 2005 10:39 PM

David Stern is WRONG for giving Van Gundy a fine. Stern should look at the tapes before slapping someone a penalty. Very unprofessional and very Bias Move by Stern. Marc Cuban must be fine as well for nagging to much. They (NBA) keep saying that there are no conspiracy, but the tapes say different.

Posted by: martin on May 4, 2005 8:32 PM