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The San Antonio Spurs are being sued by a lawyer -- a Miami Heat fan who claims that the team violated Florida's deceptive and fair trade practices law. The lawyer filed the class action lawsuit after Spurs coach Greg Popovich decided to send his best players home before the Spurs' Nov. 29 matchup against the Heat.
The game was highly touted as a meeting between two of the best teams in the league. It was even carried on national TV.
But a road-wary Popovich decided to sit Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green, reports ESPN. As a result, basketball fans got to watch unheralded Spurs players like Patty Mills and Matt Bonner nearly upset the Heat in a thrilling game.
Apparently, the on-the-court action was not enough for lawyer Larry McGuinness. He says that he and other fans were charged a premium for the game, but instead were sold a lemon, regardless of how the game ended. As a result, he claims that fans "suffered economic damage," reports ESPN.
His lawsuit arguably makes sense, in a way. NBA teams do raise prices for certain games. A Heat/Spurs matchup will cost more than a Heat/Bobcats matchup, for example. So when the Spurs sit out all their best players, what makes the Spurs any different than the Bobcats?
Still, while it is easy to sympathize with fans like McGuinness, it's hard to see how a court would find the Spurs liable.
NBA teams play an 82-game regular season and then hopefully make the playoffs, which can add another three months to the season. So NBA coaches are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint. This is especially true for a team like the Spurs, whose best players are all considered "old."
If one could hold a team liable for a coach's decision, this could lead to a slippery slope. Could a fan also sue if he believes the coach drew up the wrong play, substituted at the wrong time, or forgot to call a timeout?
If the Spurs lawsuit proceeds, a court may soon decide if there's any legal merit to this Heat fan's claims, or if they're just full of hot air.