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NBA approves new rules for resting star players

NBA rest

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NBA rest
(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NBA approves new rules for resting star players

The NBA Board of Governors approved new rules to strengthen the NBA’s resting policy for star players in an attempt to prevent excessive load management, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Wednesday.

Wojnarowski cites excessive team fines for violations that could be worth north of $1.2 million in fines for three or more violations under these new rules. For the first violation, teams will be fined $100K; for the second violation, it’s $250K with an additional $1 million more than the previous penalty for any additional violations (i.e. $1.25MM for three violations, $2.25MM for four, etc.)

According to Wojnarowski, the league memo cites that teams “must refrain from any long-term shutdown — or near shutdown — when a star player stops participating in games or plays in a materially reduced role in circumstances affecting the integrity of the game.”

According to ESPN NBA cap insider and former general manager Bobby Marks, NBA players qualify as “stars” if they were named an NBA All-Star or to an All-NBA team within the previous three seasons–which includes upwards of 50 players.

The two teams who are affected the most are the Golden State Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley), who each have four players who are considered “stars” under this new league mandate. In the league’s new CBA, NBA players can no longer qualify for an All-NBA team if they did not play at least 65 regular season games.

Per Marks, here are the rules that teams must follow:

  1. Teams cannot (intentionally) sit more than one “star” player in a single game.
  2. Teams are required to make sure healthy “star” players are available for national TV, in-season tournament games.
  3. Teams must balance how many star players rest for home vs. road games with a “preference for those absences to happen in home games.”
  4. Teams are required for healthy players resting to be at the game, present for fans.
  5. Teams cannot shut down healthy star players long-term.

It’s perfectly reasonable why the league is instituting new resting rules, which could help public perception of not only the NBA, but the best players in the NBA who rest due to load management when they’re healthy–even if it’s (sometimes) a team mandate.

According to Marks, if a team believes a star player can’t play in back-to-back games, it must “provide to the NBA written information at least one week prior explaining why the player’s participation should be limited.”

The league will allow pre-approved designated back-to-back “allowances” for players who are “35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined,” according to Marks. Exceptions will also be granted for players who must miss games due to personal reasons, roster management or end-of-season flexibility, among a couple of other caveats.

What do you think of the new rest rules? Let us know in the comments!


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