NBA Teams Could Be Fined $100K Or More For Resting Healthy Players During ‘High-Profile’ Games This Season

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Virtually every single professional athlete will fall victim to injury at some point in their life based on the toll playing a sport for decades on end takes on your body over time, and when you consider players not only run the risk of seeing their career come to a premature end but often have to deal with the lingering issues caused by these setbacks for the rest of their life, it’s not too hard to understand why some people might want to take it easy every now and then.

With that said, when you consider the NBA has long relied on superstars to boost ratings and keep that sweet, sweet revenue rolling in, it’s also not too hard to fathom why the organization might be less than thrilled with some of the biggest names in the sport opting not to play even when they’re whatever its definition of “healthy” is.

Last season, Kawhi Leonard was largely responsible for sparking a huge debate concerning the merits and drawbacks of the “load management” strategy he opted to harness, which saw him eschew the short-term expectations most people had of him in favor of focusing on his personal longevity. The approach was derided by a number of critics—including LeBron James and Michael Jordan—but no party was more displeased than the league itself, as the Clippers were fined $50,000 after Doc Rivers admitted Leonard benched himself for a game he could’ve played in if he had chosen to.

It seems odd that the NBA is allowed to have more say in whether or not someone should play than, you know, the players, but according to Chris Haynes, it’s decided to double down on this particular issue by officially instituting a new policy ahead of this season that could result in teams getting fined a minimum of $100,000 by resting an otherwise capable player during any game that fits its fairly vague definition of “high-profile.”

Of course, it seems like there’s a pretty obvious workaround here, as it would seem like it’d be pretty easy to get around this issue by looking at what Rivers did last year and doing the exact opposite. Is lying about nonexistent injuries unethical? Sure, but you could also argue this fairly irrational war on load management (which Derrick Rose believes could’ve saved his career) is equally questionable from a moral standpoint.

At the end of the day, the NBA is going to do everything in its power to keep its coffers as full as possible, especially after you consider the drop in revenue it had to deal with last season (a problem it will still have to grapple with once the next one starts). Now, there’s no telling if the people behind this new policy ran a cost-benefit analysis before instituting it, but if we assume that’s the case, then we can also assume they determined the immediate benefits outweigh A) the well-being of its players and B) the money that could be lost if any big names end up succumbing to an injury that could’ve been avoided if they’d been allowed to rest.

I for one am shocked a multibillion-dollar operation would ever choose profits over people. What a truly unprecedented development.