NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Threatens Teams with “Significant Penalties” for Resting Players
The NBA has a big problem on its hands. More and more teams are choosing to rest all their best players at one time at various points throughout the season, essentially forfeiting games they think they can afford to lose, or games they think will be particularly gruelling.
The issue has really come to a head in the past two weeks. First the Golden State Warriors rested Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for a nationally televised game against the San Antonio Spurs. Then, one week later, the Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love for a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In theory, everybody understands why teams do this. Over the last two seasons the Warriors and Cavs have averaged about 20 more games than almost every other team. Giving starters an extra day of rest here and there can go a long way toward staving off injuries and maintaining a level of excellence.
Unfortunately, nobody likes this resting strategy when it affects them personally. When fans fork over big bucks to see the Cavaliers play, they want to see LeBron and Kyrie. When television networks fork over big bucks for national broadcast rights to a Warriors game, they do it because they know people want to watch Steph and Klay.
Now NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expressing concern that resting players may be getting out of hand.
On Monday, Silver sent a memo to every team calling this “an extremely significant issue for our league.” He also threatened “significant penalties” if teams do no follow league rules for reporting injuries and illnesses.
Silver implored owners to get more involved and make sure basketball operations staff understand the business aspects of the game.
“Decisions [to rest players] do not merely implicate issues of player health and team performance on the court; they also can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation, and damage the perception of our game,” Silver wrote in the memo. “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.”
Silver had previously acknowledged that the issue of resting players is a very tricky one.
“The science has gotten to the point where there is that direct correlation that we’re aware of between fatigue and injuries,” he said at the NBA All-Star Game in February. “As tough as it is on our fans to miss one of their favorite players for a game, it’s far better than having them get injured and be out for long periods of time. So, we’re always still looking to strike that right balance.”
Apparently Silver does not think resting the two best starting lineups in the NBA two Saturdays in a row is striking the right balance. And he’s probably right.
Hat Tip – [USA Today]