Ever since Gregg Popovich decided to rest four key Spurs during a national TV game against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in 2012, at a cost of $250,000 because neither the league nor the media were alerted, teams resting players has grown more prevalent. In the past few weeks, with two straight nationally televised Saturday night games essentially ruined by stars sitting, the issue has come to a head.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to the league’s board of governors Monday, describing the way teams are choosing to rest starters in some games as “an extremely significant issue for our league” and pressing owners to be more involved in the decision-making process.
Silver also told the owners that the matter will be discussed at league meetings next month after nationally televised games on back-to-back Saturday nights were diluted by decisions to rest star players.
“Decisions of this kind ... can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation and damage the perception of our game,” Silver wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “With so much at stake, it is simply not acceptable for governors to be uninvolved or to defer decision-making authority on these matters to others in their organizations.”
“Please also be reminded that under current league rules teams are required to provide notice to the league office, their opponent and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest,” Silver wrote. “Failure to abide by these rules will result in significant penalties.”
As others have noted, the league and teams resting players are in the right in these situations. The league wants its stars playing as much as possible, especially against each other on national TV, and teams want to make sure their key guys are healthy for the playoffs.
Silver said the issue will be talked about at league meetings next month, and it will be interesting if any decision results.
and the league is adding a week to the regular season next year, but one week doesn’t figure to have a massive impact on the amount of stress 82 games puts on players’ bodies. Unless the league decides to play fewer than 82 games a season, which is highly unlikely due to the money that would be lost, it seems this issue of resting players will continue to arise.