clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Approves Rule Changes Penalizing Load Management

It’s a solid effort, but will it work?

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The NBA has proposed and approve rule changes to limit “load management”, or taking games off for rest, when it comes to the league’s stars. Gone are the days when players would log 82 games in a season. Totals in the mid-60’s are now common, with some drifting into the 50’s and 40’s, saving their bodies for the postseason.

Apparently the league has had enough and is seeking to make sure the value of a regular-season game ticket remains full.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN relayed the rules change on Monday:

ESPN Sources: The NBA’s Competition Committee has recommended stricter guidelines on resting players for national television games and multiple stars together in the same games. The league’s Board of Governors expected to vote Wednesday to pass the measures.

Under new rules, teams would be fined $100K for a first violation, $250K for a second violation and $1 million more than the previous penalty for each additional violation, sources tell ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Athletic amplified today:

NBA Board of Governors has approved new policy that a team is unable to rest two star players in the same game moving forward, multiple sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. A star is defined as someone who has made All-Star or All-NBA team in the past three seasons.

You have to credit the league for trying, but the obvious loophole in the system is the ability of teams to declare a player unfit for play due to injury rather than rest. There is no way the league can disprove those claims, nor would they even try. Imagine the disaster of misdiagnosing a real injury. Imagine the indignation of players and their agents who make a living with their bodies. Instead of “rest”, we’re likely to see contusions, minor sprains, and hangnails arise whenever a team deems their player needs a game off.

Other than that, the teeth in the penalties are pretty sharp. Nobody likes to give away a million dollars for free. It’s just too bad that it won’t be fully enforceable. It’s nice to see that the league is not messing around.

Of course, this is a first world problem. A team has to have stars and All-Stars in the first place in order to be affected by these rule changes. The Trail Blazers don’t have many, so they’ll be under the radar a bit. But it’ll be interesting to see whether other franchises pick up the spirit of the rules and start playing their stars a bit more.