The Rockets's season may be over, but at least they don't have to worry about their coach being on double secret probation any longer.
A week after NBA commissioner David Stern hit Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy with the largest fine ever assessed an NBA coach and threatened to suspend or even ban Van Gundy from coaching, the NBA today ended its investigation and withdrew its threat of further punishment.
No additional penalties beyond the $100,000 fine were levied.
Van Gundy had said May 1 that an official with the league had told him that Yao would be watched more closely when setting screens.
The league announced today that Van Gundy had confirmed that he was not tipped by a league referee. But Van Gundy said today that he purposely used the term "official" to protect the identity of the longtime friend who called him and stressed that he considered his comments accurate.
"I may have been purposely vague, but I made sure I was telling the truth," Van Gundy said. "The implication from the start, that I might have fabricated the call was disturbing and I'm glad the NBA confirmed that there were talks with league personnel."
NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik issued a statement on the league's decision to end its investigation:
"Over this past weekend, coach Van Gundy publicly apologized for his comments last week suggesting bias in the leagues refereeing relating to Yao Ming. He has also confirmed directly to an NBA representative that, during the Houston/Dallas playoff series, he did not have any communication with a referee (working or non-working) other than, of course, during an ongoing game. In fact, his only conversations with league employees during the series were with league personnel in the normal course. In light of these circumstances, we now consider the matter to be closed."