In a memo despatched to groups by the NBA Monday morning, the league laid out resting insurance policies for the 2020-21 common season — together with granting important flexibility to groups resting gamers in non-nationally televised video games, notably at first of the season.
The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says that flexibility applies to groups enjoying back-to-back video games, and presents examples of potential eventualities, together with, “to relaxation a key veteran participant who performed a considerable function on a group that superior deep into the 2020 Playoffs, or to relaxation a participant who continues to be returning to full power after recovering from COVID-19.”
That may seem like a transparent nod to gamers like Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who performed till mid-October, when the NBA Finals wrapped up, and should begin the brand new season simply over two months later.
Sometimes, gamers who attain the NBA Finals in mid-June get 4 months between then and the subsequent season beginning in mid-October.
Chatting with reporters Monday for the primary time throughout coaching camp, James mentioned that he and the Lakers can be even handed about his minutes to start out the season, because the defending champions look to win one other title.
“I’ve at all times listened to my coaches,” James mentioned when requested about load administration. “We had the identical factor final yr. We will be as sensible as we may be on … ensuring that my physique, on ensuring that I am able to go.
“Clearly, each sport issues, however we’re competing for one thing that is excessive. We do not ever wish to shortchange our stuff. For me personally, that is a superb line with me, however understanding that it is a shortened season. I believe it is 71 days that the offseason goes to be, the shortest [offseason] for any skilled sport ever.
“We’re very conscientious about what we’ll do going ahead, so far as me personally.”
The Lakers are scheduled to open the common season Dec. 22; James will flip 36 on Dec. 30.
The memo additionally says that qualifying components to find out whether or not gamers fall below “uncommon circumstances” embrace a participant’s age, damage historical past, COVID-19 restoration, season and profession workload, and schedule points — together with what number of video games a group has just lately performed and what number of consecutive highway video games it has performed.
The memo additionally reinforces the foundations round nationally televised video games which have been in place for a number of seasons, stating that “groups are prohibited from resting wholesome gamers for “high-profile, nationally-televised sport.” It states that any group that chooses to do that can be fined at the very least $100,000.
Additionally, absent the “uncommon circumstances” talked about above, the memo says groups shouldn’t relaxation a number of wholesome gamers in the identical sport, and shouldn’t relaxation wholesome gamers when enjoying on the highway.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.