LeBron James, Other Veteran Stars Qualify For Exception To NBA’s New Resting Rules

The NBA is cracking down on star players taking games off for load management, passing a new rule limiting how often teams can hold their best players out of games.

Sports Illustrated reports the NBA will now fine teams starting at $100,000 for resting star players during nationally televised and in-season tournament games or for resting multiple star players during games. A star player is defined as anyone who has been named to an All-Star team or All-NBA team in the past three years.

However, some players who are considered star players under the rule, will be exempt from the resting rules. The NBA will pre-approve load management for players who are 35 and older on opening night. Who have played more than 34,000 career minutes in the NBA or have played a combined 1,000 career regular season and playoff games.

Only seven players fall under the criteria: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden, Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley.

Teams will be able to seek pre-approval on a case-by-case basis to sit players with extensive injury histories.

Load management was largely promoted by San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich who would sit stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker during nationally televised Thursday night games, especially on the road.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kwahi Leonard also used load management to sit out games when he was with the Toronto Raptors.

Some players have fought back against sitting out games for rest. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards called out players for load management last season.

“Just play, if you 80% you gotta play, I don’t like all the sitting, missing games,” Edwards said at last year’s All-Star Media Day.

“These people might have enough money to come to one game, you know what I’m saying and that might be the game they come to and you sitting out, so I take pride in trying to play every game.”

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle also expressed his feelings against load management last season.

“I understand the science and all that different stuff behind it,” Randle said following a Knicks win against the Celtics last season according to the New York Post.

“But I guess I have my own science. … I just put way too much into my body, for me personally to cheat myself out of being available for my team.”

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