Former NBA Commissioner David Stern said he had "no idea" what Brooklyn Nets executives were thinking when the team rested Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, and Trevor Booker in their season-ending 112-73 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Nets entered the game with an opportunity to play the role of spoiler since the Bulls needed a win to clinch the eighth seed in the playoffs.
"There was sort of an agreement we had with our fans - and the players picked up on it too - if you're playing in a game of consequence, that has an impact, which is as good as it gets, [then you shouldn't rest players]." Stern told USA Today.
"Here we are, the Brooklyn Nets are out of the running. They have the lowest record in the sport. But they have an opportunity to weigh in on the final game with respect to Chicago. And they sit their starters? Really? It's inexcusable in my view. I don't think the commissioner maybe can, or even should, do anything about it. But shame on the Brooklyn Nets. They broke the pact."
The Nets finished this season 20-62, marking their worst record since the 2009-10 season when they went 12-70.
"I think I'm going to give the Nets the benefit of the doubt that they did it without recognizing what they were doing," Stern said. "That's all. The coach wanted to join the club: 'I'll show you, I'll rest my players [too]'