“Load Management”, we all heard it last year when the Toronto Raptors sat Kawhi Leonard through multiple games at the end of the season, in order to keep Leonard healthy for playoffs. It worked. “The Klaw” went on to lead the Raptors to a championship. Coaches across the league have been mirroring the approach by sitting their best and/or injury prone players. Unfortunately for them, these rests will now come at a cost.
This year, Kawhi has moved to the Los Angeles Clippers and Head Coach, Doc Rivers, seem keen on continuing the approach. Kawhi sat out in last nights nationally televised game against the Milwaukee Bucks. While there is certainly some sense in resting your star players, is it fair to the fans and the rest of the league? NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, doesn’t think so. The league has fined the LA Clippers $50,000 for what they believe was a misuse of the team’s injury report.
“It ultimately is my hope that the rules go in the drawer and that teams step up here and see that there is a larger obligation to our fans, to the basketball community,” Silver said.
The NBA will no longer allow resting players during nationally televised games without repercussions. Additionally, the following will be monitored:
- Absent unusual circumstances, a team should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.
- In situations when teams decide to rest healthy players, the players should be visible and available to interact with fans.
Doc Rivers plans to continue to rest Kawhi sporadically in hopes of keeping him feeling great and in shape for the playoff season, that the Clippers are sure to see some time in. If all the coaches continue to take the fine and go on with their approach, it’s likely that the consequences (fines) will be higher or more severe.
Featured Photo Credit: Marcus Kwesi/NESN.com
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