NBA Approves New Rule Restricting Multiple Players From Resting

The NBA has long had an issue with its players resting to help with load management. Once a team makes or is eliminated from the playoffs it’s easy for players to want to rest their bodies and not play. The NBA Board of Governors approved new rules to strengthen the NBA’s resting policy for star players, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Wednesday.

Wojnarowski cites that teams will be fined for any violation of this new rule. 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, 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.”

ESPN NBA cap insider and former general manager Bobby Marks states that 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 Golden State Warriors (Stephen CurryKlay ThompsonDraymond GreenAndrew Wiggins) and Minnesota Timberwolves (Anthony EdwardsKarl-Anthony TownsRudy GobertMike Conley) are two teams that would be affected the most by this as both have four players who are considered “stars” under this new league mandate. Under the new CBA, a player can no longer qualify for All-NBA status if they play less than 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.

As to why the NBA would put this type of rule in affect, it is completely logical from both an organization and public perception standpoint. As a fan, its frustrating when you buy tickets to a certain game because you want to watch a certain player… only to find that the player you wanted to see is “resting.”

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 NBA will allow pre-approved designated back-to-back exceptions 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. These 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.


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