NBA’s resting guidelines, explained: Rules address league’s problem with stars sitting out national TV games

On Wednesday, the NBA is expected to take a major step toward ending the league-wide issue of star players resting without injuries.

The NBA’s board of governors will likely pass new guidelines against benching players for national television games and resting multiple stars at the same time.

The NBA has had a “load management” problem over the last few years. Stars have sat out regular-season games with no specific injury designations (or extremely vague ones), and the NBA’s competition committee pitched a plan to the league’s board of governors to try and put an end to the practice.

What are the NBA’s new guidelines against resting stars? And what will the penalties be for teams that don’t follow the rules? The Sporting News takes a closer look below.

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NBA’s new resting guidelines, explained

The NBA’s new resting guidelines will penalize teams for resting players for national television games and sidelining multiple stars in the same game.

The league is defining a star player as, “someone who’s made the All-Star or All-NBA teams in any of the three previous seasons,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski’s report, these are the rules that teams must follow:

  • Teams must manage their rosters to ensure that no more than one star player is unavailable for the same game.
  • Teams must ensure that star players are available for national television and in-season tournament games.
  • 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.
  • 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 ensure that healthy players resting for a game are present and visible to fans.

There will be exceptions made, specifically for back-to-back scenarios during the regular season.

“The NBA will allow pre-approved 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/playoff games combined,” Wojnarowski reported.

The NBA will enforce this rule with a fine system “that begins with $100,000 for the first offense, $250,000 for second offenses and $1 million more than the previous penalty for each additional fine.”

This is not the first step that the league has taken this offseason to put an end to load management.

Starting this season, there are new rules in place that could impact eligibility for end-of-season awards. Players must now participate in 65 regular-season games to be eligible for awards like MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and All-NBA teams.

Between these two new rules, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is hoping to put a stop to teams resting star players for no reason.

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