The NBA has officially taken a position on the brewing controversy about resting star players.
Over the past few weeks, the issue of coaches intentionally sitting down their star players has again made headlines. It’s not a new practice, as some teams (most notably the San Antonio Spurs) have been doing it regularly for a couple of years now. But now other marquee teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are following suit, leading to some laughable lineups at times. The past two weekends have featured nationally televised games with as many as eight regular starters out of the lineup due to either injury or “they need rest.”
While some say that coaches should manage minutes however they see fit, critics of the extra rest claim that it’s unfair to the league’s advertising and television partners, not to mention the fans who pay premium pricing whenever LeBron James rolls into their town. The players defend the practice, claiming that the schedule features too many back-to-back games. Someone like James, for example, has gone to the NBA Finals every season for the last six years. That’s a lot of extra mileage, basically equating to another season and a half of basketball.
League commissioner Adam Silver has heard the complaints, though, and issued a memo to the NBA’s owners, warning them against the practice.
In the memo, Silver informed teams that the issue will be a prime topic of discussion at the next NBA Board of Governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ”significant penalties” for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ”notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.
He states that it is unacceptable for owners to be uninvolved or defer decision-making on this topic to others in their organizations, who may not have the same awareness of the impact these decisions can have on “fans and business partners,” the reputation of the league and “perception of our game.”
Silver previously fined the Spurs $250,000 for “disservice to the league and our fans” when coach Gregg Popovich didn’t even bother to have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, or Danny Green travel to a game in Miami.