One of the NBA’s main issues that has arisen over the last few seasons has been star players resting in primetime games.
In order to preserve the health of superstars for the playoffs, contending teams have regularly given off-days to some of the most recognizable faces in the NBA, which, of course not only hurts the in-person experience, but also the television product in front of a national and international audience.
However, the league office might be able to limit unnecessary resting in the near future.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, “The competition committee also recommended a plan to the board of governors to curb the resting of healthy players in the regular season, league sources told ESPN. The proposed guidelines for resting players will encourage teams to sit healthy players for home over away games, and discourage the practice during nationally televised games.”
Wojnarowski explained how exactly that could happen.
“In the proposed resting legislation, Silver will have the discretionary ability to fine teams for resting players in several instances, including sitting multiple players outside of unusual circumstances in a single game, and healthy players in nationally televised ESPN, ABC and TNT games, league sources said,” he reported.
There are also some other important factors that would be a part of the new guidelines. “When teams decide to rest players in games, they're encouraged to do so for home instead of away games,” Woj revealed. “Also, star players sitting out games are expected to be on the bench during games and encouraged to be accessible to fans for interaction prior to the game, sources said.”
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who has been notorious for resting his players in primetime games in recent years, weighed in on the issue in late March.
"I understand Adam's concern, and it's a legitimate concern,” Pop told ESPN’s Michael C. Wright at the time.
He continued, "We all have it. We all feel badly about [it]. I think they used the example of the young man and his dad or whatever. They've saved up their money. They want to go see somebody play, and that person's not there. I get it. If it was me, I'd be miffed myself.”
However, the coach mentioned the other side of the argument as well, stating that it could be a dangerous change if the NBA’s role changes.
”But we all have different roles, different jobs and different goals. We can't satisfy everybody,” he said. “But I think that every owner's gonna be different. I think it's a slippery slope and makes it difficult to keep trust and camaraderie to the degree that I think you have to have to be successful in this league if owners get too involved in what coaches and GMs are doing.”
While the NBA’s solution might not faze some organizations who might value the health and maintenance of their stars more than incurring a fine, the new measures could very well make an impact.