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NBA players’ willingness to play a full 82-game season has been a point of contention for the league.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver rightly stated that fans are getting screwed over by NBA stars’ increasingly popular load management routine — used to curb playing back-to-back games to rest stars.
Silver took another stance against the uptick in load management ‘rest’ days and presented new rules for each NBA team to mitigate its effect on the product and fans. He shared the new rules to curb load management with the NBA Board of Governors during a meeting on Wednesday.
According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA teams will be penalized if multiple All-Star-level talents sit out a single game.
As Woj reported, “Teams must manage their roster to ensure that no more than one star player is unavailable for the same game.”
Teams with multiple (and healthy) All-Star players must manage their roster to ensure stars play for nationally televised games and the in-season tournament starting next season.
Guys like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard were prominent users of the load management justification to rest games — an act that fans hated.
As for how they define an “All-Star” talent, the NBA is counting all players that made an All-Pro team in the past three seasons.
READ: NBA NEEDS TO PUT EMPHASIS ON VALUING FANS TO COMBAT THE MADDENING LOAD MANAGEMENT TREND AMONG PLAYERS: MATT WILEY
Silver admitted to letting the “load management” issue get out of hand last season. It led to a weaker product for both TV and in-person audiences as star players got preferential treatment with rest days.
“I think we’ll state this principle, see how teams react and see if more needs to be done,” Silver said. “But I think, most importantly, there’s a sense from all the different constituent groups in the league that this is ultimately about the fans and that we’ve taken this too far.
“I mean, this is an acknowledgment that it’s gotten away from us a bit, particularly I think when you see young, healthy players who are resting. It becomes maybe even more notion of stature around the league as opposed to absolute needed rest — or it’s just part of being an NBA player that you rest on certain days — and that’s what we’re trying to move away from.”
Despite its faults, the NBA’s brain trust led by Commissioner Silver is keeping its focus on an improved product for the fans when they attend games or tune in at home.
Previously, Silver proposed a rule change, demanding players play a minimum of 65 games to qualify for honors such as MVP or an All-NBA nod. All-NBA players are eligible for supermax contracts.