Resting is making headlines and waves this week.
Last Saturday, the Cavaliers decided to sit their “Big Three” of Fs Kevin Love and LeBron James and G Kyrie Irving in a 30-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Shortly after the team made the announcement, general manger David Griffin reportedly received a call from the league office, expressing displeasure with the team’s choice.
Griffin told ESPN, “They’re paying me to win a championship. I’m not overly concerned about the perception of it. We literally had one guy rest tonight, and everybody else was reasonably injured, so I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious.”
However, that answer mustn’t have pleased commissioner Adam Silver, who sent a memo to team owners on Monday that called the practice of teams resting marquee players “an extremely significant issue for our league.”
According to ESPN, Silver informed teams that the issue will be a topic of discussion at the next NBA board of governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ”significant penalties” for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ”notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.”
The memo continues to say that Silver believes it is “unacceptable” for owners to be unaware or not involved in the decision making process as to whether players play or not as this can have an impact on “fans and business partners, the reputation of the league and perception of our game.”
Four-time MVP LeBron James didn’t agree with the commissioner’s assessment.
“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it,” James told ESPN following the Cavaliers’ victory on Sunday. “At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest.”
“And it’s a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You’re going to have back-to-backs. You’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game.”
It is worth noting that LeBron James just recently passed NBA-great Michael Jordan in career minutes, showing that James has seen the floor a lot over his NBA tenure.
The topic doesn’t just center around the Cavs’ as a number of current players weighed in as well.
Thunder G Russell Westbrook has only missed one game in his career for rest, and said that if he can play, he wants to play.
“That’s their own opinion [to rest]. I like to play basketball so I like to go out and compete and have fun. I think for me I look at it differently from being hurt and missing a lot of games, I embrace everything moment i have to play basketball and enjoy the time I can play, so that’s just how I think,” Westbrook said.
MVP-candidate G James Harden said, “I’m a hooper. I just want to hoop. I’ll rest when I’m done.”
The Cavaliers were not the first team in the NBA to experiment with resting players to keep them fresh. The San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich methodically rested aging players Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to keep them fresh for a playoff run.
In other sports, teams already in position for the postseason may rest players to keep them fresh for the playoffs. In baseball, this could mean a starting pitcher not pitching on his regular day to get rest. In a sport like soccer or hockey, players that have played many consecutive games may get rest down the stretch.
Despite varying opinions, the issue still remains.
Our question is, should fans be able to get their money back if healthy stars don’t play?