The NBA has always encouraged its personnel to be open with their opinions ? but then when they cross the line, the penalties are swift and severe. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy isn't exactly pleased with that.
Van Gundy was fined this month for saying that officials tend to target his star center, Dwight Howard, and he lashed out against the league on Monday night for punishing him.
"The thing that I think is a little bit frustrating is that number one, we spend a lot of time talking to the media, and that's by a league decree," Van Gundy told the media before the Magic took on the Celtics on Monday night. "I did media after the walkthrough today, I have our radio thing I have to do after that, I'm meeting with you guys now, and I have to do it again after the game. So that's four right there.
"All they talk about to us all the time is being open and accessible and everything else. So you've got to do it four times a day, plus I'm miked during the game tonight, cameras on me before the game and at halftime, but don't say anything wrong. Be open and accessible, but make sure everything you have to say is exactly what they want you to say. There's no warnings or anything else ? it's just $35,000."
This was the second time in as many years that Van Gundy took a $35,000 hit to his bank account ? he made similar comments defending Howard last season.
Van Gundy has always been known as one of the league's more colorful characters, but he's been frustrated lately with his overexposure in the media.
"The easiest thing to do, to me, if they don't want us to say things wrong, is just don't have us meet with you guys," he said. "Then nothing would come out of us. That would be easy. But as it is, it's tough. I try to answer the questions I'm asked honestly, and I guess that's not the way to go.
"You can't say anything critical about the league at all. I wish we had that rule about coaches, that you guys couldn't say anything critical of us. But no ? the only people in the game who can't be criticized are the officials and the people in the league office. Everybody else is fair game."