NBA board of governors approve tougher rest rule


Michael Wilbon explains why he isn’t confident in the NBA’s new rules to solve load management issues. (1:10)
The NBA board of governors voted Wednesday to approve tougher resting policy rules and punishments for star players who sit out games — including those on national TV and in-season tournaments — as well as multiple All-Stars sitting out together for regular-season games, a source told ESPN.
The rule would ultimately give the league office authority for greater oversight over discipline for missed games and an ability to fine teams more than $1 million for each instance of violating resting rules, sources said.
As the league negotiates a new media rights deal, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been determined to increase player participation. The league’s goal is to strengthen the initial player resting policies that were adopted in the 2017-18 season and new rules that mandate players participate in 65 regular-season games to be eligible for postseason awards.
The NBA is defining a star player as someone who has made the All-Star or All-NBA teams in any of the three previous seasons, sources said.
In total, 25 teams and 50 players (nearly 11% of the league) are impacted by the new rules. Fifteen teams have multiple players who were named All-NBA or to the All-Star Game in the previous three seasons. The list of impacted players could potentially change after the 2024 NBA All-Star Game.
The NBA will incorporate a fines system for teams that begins with $100,000 for first offenses, $250,000 for second offenses and $1 million more than the previous penalty for each additional fine, sources said.
A league memo obtained by ESPN about the changes describes these areas of the new policy. Enforcement of these policies will be based on league office investigations, which will include independent medical reviews, sources said.
Teams must manage their roster to ensure that no more than one star player is unavailable for the same game. For example, the Boston Celtics would not be allowed to rest both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in the same game unless they are both injured.
Teams must ensure that star players are available for national television and in-season tournament games.
Teams must refrain from any long-term shutdown — or near shutdown — when a star player stops participating in games or plays in a materially reduced role in circumstances affecting the integrity of the game.
Teams must maintain a balance between the number of one-game absences for a star player in home games and road games — with a preference for those absences to happen in home games. Under that scenario, both the Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers would’ve been investigated by the league after shutting down Bradley Beal (10 games) and Damian Lillard (11), respectively, at the end of last season.
Teams must ensure that healthy players resting for a game are present and visible to fans.
The NBA, however, has detailed several exceptions by which a team can seek approval for a star player to miss back-to-back games.
The NBA will allow preapproved designated back-to-back allowances for players who are 35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined, sources said.
If a team feels that a star player is unable to play in back-to-back games, it must provide to the NBA written information at least one week prior explaining why the player’s participation should be limited.
The league has also said that a team can seek approval for a star player to be unavailable for one end of a back-to-back based on the player’s prior or unusual injury history.
Other exceptions include: multigame absences for a bona fide injury; personal reasons; rare and unusual circumstances; roster management of unavailable star players; and end-of-season flexibility.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this report.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here