Adam Silver: Resting Marquee Players A “Significant Issue”

10:32pm: USA Today has obtained a full copy of Silver’s memo, Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick report (link). In his statement, Silver implored team owners to be mindful of “business ramifications of sitting players.”

“Decisions of this kind do not merely implicate issues of player health and team performance on the court; they also can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation, and damage the perception of our game.  With so much at stake, it is simply not acceptable for Governors to be uninvolved or to defer decision-making authority on these matters to others in their organizations,” the memo read.

Per Zillgitt, the commissioner indicated there would be a “full discussion of this issue in our Executive Session” on April 6.

8:14pm: NBA commissioner Adam Silver isn’t happy with the growing trend of teams resting star players in nationally televised games. According to a report from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Silver issued a memo to league owners on Monday, detailing “significant penalties” for teams that don’t provide sufficient notice of rest games.

Silver’s memo argued these games of rest affect “fans and business partners,” alike, while having a negative impact on the consumer’s “perception of our game.” Per Shelburne,  teams must provide “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.” Silver’s memo is certain to be a point of discussion at the NBA Board of Governors meeting on April 6th.

Shelburne relayed a statement from ESPN on the subject:

“As always, our aim is to serve NBA fans with the best matchups involving the league’s top stars and we share the fans’ disappointment. We understand this is a complex issue and we’re working closely with the NBA to best address it going forward from a media partnership standpoint.”

Clearly, the league will face resistance in their efforts at reducing rest games. According to an earlier report from Shelburne, Cavs GM David Griffin received a call from the league after he’d opted to rest three starters in a nationally televised game. Griffin doubled-down on his decision, however, citing injuries to core players Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Kyle Korver. Griffin summed up his argument: “I can’t make [LeBron James] drag himself through this tonight by himself and then have everybody else play tomorrow and still not win.

Yeah, it sucks from a timing perspective. I feel bad for the league. I really do. I feel bad for the league, but it is what it is for us, from an injury standpoint.”

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48 thoughts on “Adam Silver: Resting Marquee Players A “Significant Issue”

  1. I agree with you, but now coaches are goin to sit players out with excuses like, stomach virus, migraine headaches, tight hamstring, woke up with body aches, etc etc…i understand its alot of traveling but u only play 82 games in a season..and less then 25 in playoffs, and get paid millions of dollars to do it, they def are big babies.
    And what i hate is when star players like lebron, melo always saying they want key guys on there team, if so why no restructure ur contract and give money back so they can use to get other players…i understand players wanna get what they feel they worth, but dont also go out and say that the team needs key players.

    • yoyo137

      But the players that play 82 games are usually players that have to, they’re fighting for the lower playoff seeds. Meanwhile the players from higher seeds are able to rest because they can absorb the losses and still end up as a 1-4 seed. Players should be able to rest for the playoffs especially if they’re in a position where regular season games don’t matter anymore and they need to get ready for the playoffs. And also only players that are Dirk Nowitzki take paycuts to build a non-big 3 roster around him. Lebron hasn’t been paid top dollar, #1 player in the league money ever in his career until now. Dan Gilbert has the money to spend, and the proof is there because he has spent it. Lebron came back to Cleveland to make his money and force the team to build a championship roster around him or else he’ll leave again. He has all the leverage, if he can get his max money and get a championship caliber team (which he has this year), then who is losing? Lebron gets his money, Gilbert spends his money to try to repeat which any owner with Lebron should, and they maximize their championship window. They also set precedents for other players in the future to make more money and give comparisons for future deals, which is great for the future of the league in terms of CBAs. Regular season rest games for 1-4 seeds and blaming superstars for making the max money that superstars are supposed to make is very backwards thinking.

      • MAGICQ7

        Wrong. It’s the only sport with guaranteed contracts. It’s also the the only sport that doesn’t apply drug testing. All salaries in the NBA are based off of an 82 game season. Suck it up and play. Football and hockey don’t pull this crap and they get hit. Baseball pulls it, but they play almost every day for 161 games. Trying to come up with an excuse in the simplest terms is silly. If you don’t want to play 82 games. Fine you lose your pay check for that game. That’s like saying I’m hungover from the nite before. You really need me for the end of the month. I’m just gonna stay home and recoup while I get paid still.

        • Baseball and hockey, for the most part, also have contracts that are guaranteed. They’re like basketball, unless specifically stated otherwise, the contracts are guaranteed. Football is the only one where contracts are not usually fully guaranteed.

          In terms of rest compared to other sports, I’ll give you hockey because you rarely ever see players get a night off unless they’re injured or the team has their playoff spot already locked in. Football players play roughly 16-19 games a year and while they get banged up a lot, their games are usually once a week and its not uncommon for players to miss practices on a weekly basis. Baseball players probably play a more exhausting schedule (162 games and playoffs, including back-to-backs for almost every game), but I would argue that baseball players get more physical rest in-game than other sports and they also have the benefit of being in one city for roughly three nights before having to travel again (whereas hockey and basketball teams travel more often unless they’re playing back-to-backs in the same area/city).

    • toby312

      Please remove word star next to Melos name and replace it with over paid over rated or way past his prime!:) so many choices or choose them all?

    • Because Jordan was the only player on those Chicago Bulls teams right? He didn’t have star players like Scottie Pippen and (later on) Denis Rodman. With the 2011 Dallas Mavs really being the only recent exception, teams nowadays need multiple stars to win (Spurs, Lakers, Celtics, Warriors, Cavs).

  2. bowserhound

    “I’m too tired to play basketball even though I make $30MM/year”. Wussies.

    • yoyo137

      Playoffs are more important than regular season, they’re resting these games that they’re already paid for anyway to play games that are way more intense and strenuous, after playing a whole regular season, for considerably less money against way better competition for a chance to win the NBA championship. I’m sorry your tv experience wasn’t as good because some players on a team everyone expects to be in the Finals rested for one night, but maybe the league shouldn’t schedule nationally televised games on back to backs. What do you do to be criticizing players who worked their whole lives to make $30 million a year playing basketball?

  3. Z-A

    The preseason began on October 1, 2016 and ended on October 21, 2016. Do they really need 3 weeks of preseason? How about preseason 2 weeks, End of September 1st week of October… then into the season we go. Spreading out the season over 2 more weeks should be helpful.

    • toudi

      resting players every few games like they do now is a plague and it makes regular season look like it was preseason so what do they need preseason for!
      I used to watch at least two games a week for years, but now it seems pointless and I just wait for the playoffs..

  4. toby312

    Sounds like players are trying to make some kind of statement with scheduling or whatever they think is the issues? The have great tv contract that pays second stringers more per year than a Patrick Kane or a Crosby some of THE best hockey stars. More power to the NBA . But I will leave with some of the Lemming fans of lets say GARPAX team hot mess are on the edge of trust or not to trust the managements poor track record! Will they soon disappear? Just sayn

    • You’re comparing salaries in a sport (basketball) where the salary cap is about $100 million (and teams are allowed to go over it) to a sport (hockey) where the cap is about $70 million and acts as a hard cap.

  5. KCelts

    I’m probably in the minority, but how about we let coaches and GMs let their teams manage the way they want to. Who cares if the players are getting rest if it’s for the team. I’m all for it.

        • FLA ALL DAY

          Im sure he pays that cable bill every month. Where do you think these owners get all this money to pay these clowns?

          • Revenue from the actual stadium, sponsorships, and from their own wealth (considering most owners are millionaires or billionaires to begin with).

    • Vadapins

      I guess you’re also in the majority of people would be happy to pay $100 for a Cavs game only to find out that Labron James and Kylie Irving were “resting”????

      • LeBron was the only one legitimately taking a night off. Kyrie was hurt and could’ve played, but it didn’t make sense to play him since he was technically hurt. Where’s all the hate for Golden State? They rested their best guys when not one of them was actually injured.

        • Vadapins

          Obviously you didn’t understand. Hate has nothing to do with this. Let’s say you’re a Warrior fan and paid $100 to see Curry , Thompson and Green play. You the consumer just got screwed if you didn’t know they’d be sitting those players.

      • KCelts

        Say the Celtics, who I’m a fan of, rest IT, Bradley, and Horford. Being a fan of my TEAM, I would be okay with it because I would be supporting my team and at an NBA game. It’d suck a little not seeing them in action, but I’d want to be there supporting the team.

  6. Im guessing u a celtics fan…what if u go to a game and IT isnt playing, and crowder isnt playing…and the 6-12 guys on bench are playing 40 mins in the game..would u be ok with that after paying a few hundred dollars for tickets?

    • KCelts

      While it wouldn’t be my favorite, given how I’d be there for my team, I’m fine with it if Brad would think it’s best for the team. I’m from MO so going to TD Garden isn’t exactly feasible for me. So whether the Celtics play their stars or 15 different hot dog vendors, I would be happy being there at an NBA game period.

  7. ChiSoxCity

    Today’s NBA players are the most pampered, whiney, overpaid, entitled, self-absorbed athletes in all of sports.

  8. Ortsac Nilrats

    Joke is in anyone and everyone who consistently follows the NBA…..

  9. jsaldi

    Only solution is cut the schedule. The regular season is to long and meaningless. No back to back games

    • KCelts

      You’ll never see that. Schedule at 82 is more than fine. I’d be with you on back to backs if it doesn’t extend the overall season beyond June or anything.

  10. Todd Y

    So silver has an issue with resting players, yet he’s ok with teams tanking over the course of years… talk about a doochcanoe..

  11. Reflect

    Make regular season record actually mean something. Cut bottom 2 seeds. Top 2 seeds get a bye.

    Not gonna happen, I know… but if teams don’t have to try during the regular season then clearly there is something wrong with the regular season.

      • Reflect

        If that actually mattered to teams then they would try to win every night. The fact that they don’t shows it isn’t important.

        There’s a reason the other major sports don’t have this resting problem; teams in other sports can’t afford to rest their players so much, because every win counts for something.

        • Every win counts for something in other leagues because theres more parity. There is no parity in the NBA. It’s basically whichever team LeBron is playing for, the Warriors, and Spurs. Which teams have rested their players the most? The Cavs, Warriors, and Spurs. Those teams are annually at the top of the standings and thus have home court advantage almost every year.

  12. Nigel

    Yea I agree they should shorter the season and please get rid of backs to backs. Because that really the main reason why teams has been resting their players.

    • Buddy

      They “rest” their players because players nowadays are entitled and don’t feel they should play “unimportant” games.

  13. Beantown

    That’s what the goat of the NFL does in tom Brady.he takes way less money so that the patriots organization can build steam for the present and future

  14. There is no excuse to sit when healthy! The league is for the fans, and fans loose out when marquee players sit for no reason. They are cheating the fans ( who are either attending or watching on tv) out of their money. The fans pay for the huge contracts, no one else.

    Also, the schedule should not be shortened. If you shorten it the players would have to take a pay cut. ( less work less pay) and they will never take less money. I do really enjoy the nba, but they are the most pampered league in professional sports.

    Isiah Thomas had some great insights on the issues last night on players only on TNT. He basically said you players today want all the money in the world and want to work less and less, but is doesn’t work that way. League is about the fans, because without the fans basketball players are not highly paid.

  15. Buddy

    Be glad I’m not a coach or GM. These guys are making 15, 20, 30 million a year and they need a REST? I think not. I’d play them in a 40-point blowout. Earn your money. Guys like LeBron sit out 5-8 games a year easily for no good reason.

    • You’d play your star players in a blowout? And if they got seriously hurt, I guess that’s their fault? Players like LeBron rest for the playoffs. At the end of the day, no one cares how many regular season games they won/lost, its about how well they did in the playoffs.

    • madjib33

      calculate his per game rate and pay him less if he doesn’t play (excluding injury).

  16. caryloyd

    The game has sucked for years. The officiating gets worse all the time. Outside of European players, few are proficient in all areas of the game. And of course, the game is fixed.

  17. madjib33

    So,the NBA is not involved in the sport of basketball. it is involved in the Entertainer industry. it stopped being a sport due to the amount of dollars involved. since that is the case,anything and everything that involves the SHOW (not game) matters. As someone who goes to the show, you have the right to pull players…charge me less for the tickets when I see understudies. Easy..can’t charge me the same for an inferior product.

  18. yuval yifterberg

    A guy from Korea takes a vacation, pays 8000$ for flights. hotel, tickets … he’s putting everything to watch LeBron. He has to plan ahead … and than LeBron doesn’t play! That’s horrible. Same if he was from Idaho, doesn’t matter. I think less of players who rest. Iv’e had the experience coming this year to Boston to watch Pats and Brady … and he was suspended. No way to treat fans, and I appreciate much more players who don’t “cry” to rest like Kobe, Westbrook, Harden, Jordan (and the whole old guard). We the fans pay your Billions buy watching TV buying shirts etc. Respect us!! I adore Popovich for his coaching but this resting which he kind of started is kind’o discusting. At least his team plays beatifully even with a bunch of guys from the street. I suggest this – if somebody came esp. to watch a player and he’s rested, he pays him his expenses, or better, they let him play a few minutes!! How about that!!!????

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