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Nets coach Jason Kidd crossed a line; the NBA has to make sure this isn’t repeated

Watching rookie Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd buy himself an extra timeout with that “drop-the-soda-on-the-floor” trick raised two thoughts:

1. Why didn’t some NBA coach try this a long time ago?

2. In a sports world where a NASCAR driver spins out, looking to manipulate who gets into the Chase, is it any surprise an NBA coach would tell a player to bump into him to buy time to draw up a play?

The NBA fined Kidd $50,000 for this stunt. Frankly I didn’t think that was sufficient, not because I’m looking to bang on Kidd, but because this amounted to an “integrity of the game” issue. The league should have suspended Kidd for at least a game to send the message no coach better try this stuff again.

When NASCAR saw compelling proof that race teams were looking to manipulate who got into the Chase, the sport’s in-season playoff, it acted swiftly and decisively with sanctions and warnings. NASCAR sent the message that any driver not giving his best effort would be punished severely.

I generally perceive NASCAR as a wink-and-nod operation more interested in a good show than a clean conscience. So you’d think the NBA would be at least as concerned with what Kidd attempted, in trying to manipulate an outcome outside the rules.

It’s quite possible Kidd’s fine will be sufficient in sending the message you can’t repeat these shenanigans. But I thought what he did was so blatant (hilariously entertaining, as it was) that the NBA should have come down harder, particularly in a time when the league’s discipline czar, Rod Thorn, is docking coaches and players for using profanity in post-game interviews.

Using a bad word in front of a TV camera is bad manners. Dropping a soda to create a stoppage of play is bad business. Very different.

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