The never-ending debate about load management and resting players continued Monday, thanks to a new policy implemented by the NBA. This season, teams will be fined at least $100,000 if they are found to be resting healthy players for nationally televised games, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.
Last season, the league attempted to clarify the rules surrounding load management, which is when it introduced the rule about players not sitting out national TV games. It also required teams to rest players at home rather than on the road, and instructed teams not to rest multiple players in the same game.
The Los Angeles Clippers were notably fined $50,000 last season for refusing to follow those guidelines when they had Kawhi Leonard sit out against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, they were only punished because then-head coach Doc Rivers made postgame comments that contradicted the team's official statement about Leonard's health.
As the Clippers incident shows, it's rather easy for teams to circumvent these rules by declaring that a player is injured instead of saying they're resting. While the league has procedures in place to make teams jump through some hoops such as notifying it and documenting the injury, it's quite simple to provide proof that a player is dealing with a sore ankle or tight hamstring.
So while there may be a team or two that the league makes an example out of early in the season, it's hard to imagine these sort of fines becoming a regular occurrence. Besides, even if they were, $100,000 to an NBA team is nothing, and many might see it as a worthwhile investment to keep their stars healthy.
Also, even if it is true that these fines end up being uncommon, implementing them ahead of this season seems like a tone-deaf decision by the league. With a condensed schedule and COVID-19 rampaging across the country, it's going to be more challenging than ever for teams to get through the season in one piece. Introducing a new punitive measure won't help matters.