For quite some time, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been in pursuit of a solution to the league’s recent ‘load management’ problem.
Whether it be resting players during an exhaustive stretch of games or even resting players toward the end of the season to increase draft lottery odds – teams around the league have normalized resting players when healthy.
In the 2022-23 season, Harrison Barnes and Nikola Vucevic were the only two players to start in all 82 games of the regular season.
This past Wednesday, the board of governors approved stricter resting policy rules. These rules will primarily focus on all-star-level players. Most notably, these policy rules include:
- No more than one star player may be unavailable for the same game
- Star players must be available for nationally televised and in-season tournament games
- Healthy players being rested must be present for the game and visible to fans
*A “star player” is defined as having been an All-Star or All-NBA player in the previous three seasons.
In the case of the Mavericks, Luka and Kyrie wouldn’t be able to rest on the same night. An actual injury will have to be shown to rest-star players. The apparent goal of these changes is to achieve greater player participation in the entire 82-game regular season. They have already enforced a 65-game minimum for league award eligibility. Some teams found this as a point of refute when the league announced these changes that pushed for further player participation.
Another layer of these resting policy rules is avoiding resting players on the road (for the sake of fans seeing visiting team players).
Teams (not players) will receive significant punishment, with $100,000 and $250,000 fines for the first instances. For successive violations of resting policies, the fines increase a million more each time. Most teams want their best players on the floor, but one source of frustration would be an instance where a team is punished based on a player’s personal decision to rest a particular game.
Generally, these changes should push for a better fan experience.
The league wants the best product on the court, and the fans want to watch the best product on the court.