The NBA wants to discipline teams that rest players, which would impact the San Antonio Spurs.
For anyone that’s followed the San Antonio Spurs in the Gregg Popovich era, especially the past five-or-so years, he’s sat players out for rest. It’s mostly been applied to older players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. However, when needed, Kawhi Leonard sat out a game or two, as well.
The Spurs aren’t the only team that does this, so NBA commissioner Adam Silver is out to prevent this as much as possible, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. To start, the NBA took away back-to-back national television games for teams. However, Silver also wants to discipline teams that rest players, tying it to future revenue, which hasn’t been opposed much. The potential specific punishment wasn’t included.
It sounds more like ownership vs. coaching philosophy. Coaches like Popovich have integrated rest into the normal “season rotation” for players, keeping them out for games deemed unnecessary or consequential to the player’s health.
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However, it’s also about the fans that arrive at the arena and hopes to see the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors in the regular season, and not watered down versions. These games would be on national television, on stations like ABC, ESPN or TNT, all of which can draw millions for an audience. TV ratings were down for the 2016-17 season, however, a concern for these national games.
Let’s see if Silver’s plan for discipline gets passed, along with what would happen to these teams. Is it a fine for the coach or the team? Both? Will suspensions be in play? Will there be loopholes the organization can use to get around this? Especially the latter, they’re all questions to consider with this potential change to the NBA.
Most importantly, look for a response from Popovich. Whether it’s in the media or during the game, it’s hard to think he won’t be involved in the aftermath of a new rule.