NBA Board Of Governors Approves New Player Participation Policy

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted on Wednesday to approve new rules that will strengthen the league’s policy on resting players and will subject teams to fines for violating those rules, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The vote was unanimous, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

We briefly outlined these new rules on Monday when word initially broke that the NBA was planning to implement them. However, in an article worth reading in full, ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who refers to the new rules as the “player participation policy,” provides a far more in-depth look at how exactly that new policy will function.

As Marks outlines, an NBA team will be subject to a fine if it rests a healthy “star” (defined as a player who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team during the previous three seasons) in any of the following scenarios:

  1. If it rests a star player in a game that is nationally televised or in an in-season tournament game.
  2. If it rests more than one star is in the same game.
  3. If it rests a star in a road game instead of a home game (teams must maintain a balance between the two, with the preference being for rest days to occur in home games).
  4. If it shuts down a healthy star for an extended period of time (ie. if a tanking team stops playing one if its star players down the stretch).
  5. If a star who is being rested is not on the bench and visible to fans.

A team will be fined $100K for its first violation of this policy, $250K for its second violation, and $1.25MM for a third violation, per Marks. Fines for additional violations would continue to increase by $1MM in each instance.

The NBA will permit certain exceptions, as Marks outlines, particularly in back-to-back scenarios. If a player meets certain age/experience benchmarks (35 years old on opening night; 34,000+ career regular minutes; or 1,000 career regular season and playoff games) or has an injury history that will require load management, a team can ask the league for permission to rest that player for one of the two games in a back-to-back set.

The NBA would still require the star player to be active for the nationally televised or in-season tournament game in this scenario, unless both games in the back-to-back are on national TV.

Absences for personal reasons or certain other unusual circumstances will also be permitted, per Marks. End-of-season flexibility is another exception worth noting — for example, a team that has clinched its playoff seed may receive approval to rest more than one star in its regular season finale.

The NBA will have the ability to launch an investigation and conduct an independent medical review if it suspects a team is listing a healthy star player out due to a dubious injury. For instance, if the new policy had been in place last season when the Wizards shut down Bradley Beal for the last 10 games of last season due to “knee soreness,” the league may have looked into that, Marks explains.

The league also has the right to investigate in other scenarios, such as recurring one-game road absences for a star player or a case where there are inconsistent public statements about a star’s status.

The list of which players qualify as “stars” will constantly be changing as new All-Star and All-NBA teams are announced, but here are the players who meet the criteria entering the 2023/24 season, per Marks:

  1. Trae Young (Hawks)
  2. Dejounte Murray (Hawks)
  3. Ben Simmons (Nets)
  4. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  5. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  6. LaMelo Ball (Hornets)
  7. DeMar DeRozan (Bulls) *
  8. Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  9. Nikola Vucevic (Bulls)
  10. Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers)
  11. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  12. Darius Garland (Cavaliers)
  13. Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
  14. Kyrie Irving (Mavericks)
  15. Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
  16. Stephen Curry (Warriors) *
  17. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  18. Andrew Wiggins (Warriors)
  19. Chris Paul (Warriors) *
  20. Fred VanVleet (Rockets)
  21. Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers)
  22. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  23. Paul George (Clippers)
  24. LeBron James (Lakers) *
  25. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  26. Ja Morant (Grizzlies)
  27. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies)
  28. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  29. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  30. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
  31. Jrue Holiday (Bucks)
  32. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  33. Rudy Gobert (Timberwolves)
  34. Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves)
  35. Mike Conley (Timberwolves) *
  36. Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves)
  37. Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
  38. Julius Randle (Knicks)
  39. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Thunder)
  40. Joel Embiid (Sixers)
  41. James Harden (Sixers) *
  42. Bradley Beal (Suns)
  43. Devin Booker (Suns)
  44. Kevin Durant (Suns) *
  45. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  46. Domantas Sabonis (Kings)
  47. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  48. Pascal Siakam (Raptors)
  49. Lauri Markkanen (Jazz)

Note: The players marked with an asterisk (*) will either be 35 years old on opening night or have accumulated 34,000+ career regular minutes or 1,000 career regular season and playoff games, making them potentially eligible for pre-approved rest nights on back-to-backs.

The NBA has officially released the full policy right here.

View Comments (20)