It is easy to understand the anger by Greg Popovich over the fine. Coach Popovich said, "I think the league operates from a business prospective. And I think thats reflective in the action that they took." Popovich is worried about the long term success of his team and showed little concern for how the fans would view the decision.
It must be remembered that the NBA is a business. There is not a better person to remind us of this then Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Cuban came out to say that David Stern and NBA were completely right to fine the Spurs. Stern publicly made it seem that he was upset for the fans, but Cuban states the real reason for Stern's frustration. NBA TELEVISION CONTRACTS.
It is all about the money, as usual.
Cuban calls the television contacts the "money train." Cuban says that without the huge contracts from television, the league would not be profitable. The relationship between the league and the networks is vital and must be kept strong. Cuban said about resting the key players, "Resting the stars for the long haul one game earlier, one game later, sure. Resting when you've got our biggest costumer at stake, that's a whole different animal." Cuban later went on to say that he believes the Spurs should have received a more punishing fine.
I understand both points of view in this situation. The Spurs are in the midst of a demanding schedule and needed to give aging stars a night off. The NBA makes its money on television contacts and they do not want to risk that relationship. I believe Greg Popovich was right to sit the players if he believed it would be better in the long run. I also believe the fine was warranted. It is an unfortunate situation, and it would have been more ideal for the Spurs to sit the players for a game that was not nationally televised but Popovich made the move that he thought was best and Stern replied with what he thought was necessary.