Leave it to Phil Jackson to have an opinion on League matters. Jackson talked about several topics as his team prepares to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st Round of the Playoffs, including the Cavaliers resting of starLeBron James the past week.
AOL Fanhouse's Tim Povtak drew a comparison between James' willingness to sit and Michael Jordan's refusal to do so even when his teams were in a similar spot. But Jackson opted only to compliment his former player while also seeing the logic in James' move.
"(There) was a decrease in minutes (for Jordan and other stars late in the season back then)," Jackson said. "But unless (the reason for the player sitting) was something significant, people were asked (by the league) not to sit people out. I think there's a point (there), and a real emphasis that players get around the league so fans have a chance to see them."
"Michael was always a person who (thought) people paid a high ticket price to watch me play and I want to perform," Jackson said. "He was great about that. I think that's one of the things that has been great about our stars is that they come out and play.
"There's a fan following. They're watching every game. (There were) a couple times in Michael's career where he was tossed from a ballgame and suspended for the next one, (and) it was a town we only went to one time (during the season). People travel from hundreds of miles to get to this game, and there was quite an (out)cry from the fan core about how the league designates how they do this."
Jackson didn't stop there. He also feels that resting James gives the Cavaliers an advantage heading into the Playoffs -
"I kind of thought that it played kind out into Cleveland's favor to not showcase everything they have against Orlando (in a loss on Sunday), especially when they know that's their threat (in the Eastern Conference) coming down the stretch," he said. "(You) give him a little bit of rest, and let the team work it out without him ... I think it kind of gives your bench a lot of confidence. You see that (Mo) Williams can play without James on the floor. (He can) kind of carry the ball a little bit and do the things that have to be done for his team."
Perhaps it is because the Cavaliers have earned the right to rest their stars that other coaches are annoyed. I could care little about whether Michael Jordan wanted to play. The goal this season is to win a Championship. If LeBron sitting on the sidelines in meaningless games increases the odds of that happening - go for it!
As for the NBA, they are keeping tabs on the situation as well, according to Tim Frank, NBA spokesman -
This is a subject we are monitoring, and we plan to discuss the subject at this week's board of governor's meeting (in New York)
As FanHouse mentioned, there is a precedent for the NBA to take action in situations like this.
As Jackson pointed out, an incident at the end of the 1989-90 season made it harder in that era for teams to rest players leading into the playoffs. Then-Lakers coach Pat Riley was fined $25,000 on April 25, 1990 for not playing Magic Johnson and James Worthy in the final regular season game. The Lakers were preparing for their first-round series against Houston, and they fell to the Blazers 130-88 in a finale that was the most one-sided Lakers loss in franchise history.