The Cleveland Cavaliers may have produced the straw that broke the camel’s back when they decided to rest the trio of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during last Saturday’s primetime television game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The debate over players rest was reignited, with league commissioner Adam Silver chiming in with a memo that was sent to team owners on Monday.
In that memo, per ESPN, Silver spoke of “significant penalties” that could be imposed upon teams that failed to inform their opponent, the league and the media of a player that was resting with adequate advance notice. He deemed it, “an extremely significant issue for our league,” reinforcing that the point of contention would be brought up during the next NBA Board of Governors meeting on April 6 in New York.
The debate remains simple at its core: General managers, head coaches, and to a further extent, owners, all want to win championships, not regular season games. In the case of teams such as the Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, who have incurred the wrath of the league office for sitting players (but usually always in the case of a network television game), their perspective remains that the athletes need rest heading into the postseason.
The argument from particular players’ side is that playing four games in five nights for a team that will play closer to 100 games than 80, doesn’t make sense. James has expressed little concern with sitting, while Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala got in trouble for not wanting to sit, further deepening the chasm.