The battle between the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs hit a new low.  Upon hearing the news that Gregg Popovich had sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Danny Green back to Texas before the Heat game, Stern vowed "substantial sanctions" would be headed San Antonio's way.

David Stern has never been one to make empty threats.  Today, he fined the Spurs $250,000 for yesterday's actions.

In an official release, Stern said the following:

"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case. The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team's only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."

Obviously, Stern was using Pop and the Spurs as an example to the rest of the league.  Naturally, Stern played the 'protecting the fans and integrity of the league' card, but no one is buying it.

I have not heard one fan complain about Popovich's decision.  If anything, his decision helped the league and TNT because ratings for the game were up.

This too shall pass, but it's another black mark on the nearly 30 year tenure of David Stern.