The NBA is expected to pass more stringent rules and punishments to limit the resting of star players for nationally televised and in-season tournament games and instances of multiple All-Stars sitting out individual regular-season games, sources told ESPN on Monday.
The NBA’s competition committee recommended a plan that the league’s board of governors is expected to approve Wednesday. It would ultimately give the league office authority for greater oversight over discipline for missed games and an ability to fine teams over $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, and 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’s made the All-Star or All-NBA teams in any of the three previous seasons, sources said.
The NBA will incorporate a fine 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.
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.
The NBA will provide several scenarios for excused absences on missed games — including those involving regular-season back-to-back scenarios, sources said. For example, 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, sources said.