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Tanking in the NBA?

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

I was on Mike and Mike on ESPN radio on Monday morning when an interesting topic came up. Mike Greenberg read me a quote from Celtics forward and former Providence star Ryan Gomes, who basically admitted he was benched in the fourth quarter of a game so the Celtics could move closer to getting a better draft pick.

First of all, I was very surprised by the quote. If it is indeed accurate, I think he should be reprimanded big time. There is no place in the game for that. I wish there was a system in place that would eliminate any hint of impropriety.

The NBA does a great job marketing its product and commissioner David Stern is certainly a man of integrity. This situation really troubles me. Teams should be playing hard to get to the winner's circle.

There should never be an incentive for losing. You should have something in place that keeps people from even thinking or discussing the idea of a team not trying to win a game for any reason. I believe the intelligent people in the NBA, with love of the game, need to sit down and analyze this situation for the future. It certainly is not healthy for the sport, for the fans paying big bucks for tickets.

Coaches want to win. I know most of them think about today first because many times they get fired and the next coach gets the benefit of that great player coming in. You want to get as many Ws as possible.

I was shocked by Gomes' comments. The Grizzlies and Celtics have the two worst records in basketball, but with the lottery, there is no guarantee that they will get a Greg Oden or a Kevin Durant. That is another reason why I don't see teams failing to give maximum effort or to put its best players pn the court.

This situation is puzzling to me.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.