Rick Carlisle: Refs' union made 'reckless verbal attacks'

The NBA Coaches Association fired back at the referees' union Tuesday, one day after the latter group criticized the league for its decision not to suspend Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

"The NBA Coaches Association greatly values our working relationship with the league office and our officials," NBA Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle, coach of the Dallas Mavericks, said in a statement. "For the record, our association would NEVER lobby for the suspension of an official for a situation like this one that has been thoroughly reviewed by the NBA and clearly determined to be incidental in nature. We view the unwarranted and reckless verbal attacks by Referee Union general counsel as grandstanding in nature, and beneath the dignity of the highly regarded group whose interests he claims to represent. The best interests of our great league lie far above what appears to be an obvious cheap and misguided attempt for a blast of short-term Twitter fame."

Budenholzer was fined $25,000 on Monday for what he determined was "incidental" contact with referee Ben Taylor during the second quarter of the Cavs' 109-97 victory this past weekend. It appeared Budenholzer was arguing a non-call on the previous possession. Taylor stopped the game and immediately ejected Budenholzer after Budenholzer took several steps onto the court to argue during live play.

The NBA referees' union, in a statement Monday, said it deplored the league's decision.

"Referees operate in an environment in which an influential NBA team owner has repeatedly mocked the efficacy of fines as means to change bad behavior," Lee Seham, the National Basketball Referees Association general counsel, said in a statement.

"Recent league precedent dictated that a coach who aggressively charged onto the floor during live action and physically interfered with a referee would be suspended. We are now operating at a lower level with less transparency, degraded safety, and diminished respect for the game. Coaches should compete by creating better teams, not by physically intimidating officials."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, for whom Budenholzer served as an assistant coach from 1996 to 2013, called Seham's statement "comical."

"I think it's just a case of an anonymous suit trying to gain 15 minutes of stardom more than anything," he said.

Budenholzer said he has apologized to Taylor but wouldn't elaborate.

"I think it's important to keep those kinds of conversations private," he said Tuesday. "I'm glad I could reach out and visit with him and, obviously, apologize. After that, it's best to keep it between him and me. I think we respect all the officials, and I'm looking forward to just kind of putting this in the past."

Information from ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, Kevin Arnovitz and Michael C. Wright was used in this report.