In a memo sent to teams on Monday, the NBA updated the terms of its Player Resting Policy for the 2020-21 season, which is due to start on December 22.
While the new policy gives teams plenty of flexibility to rest players in non-nationally televised games, the NBA is planning to discipline clubs for sitting healthy players during nationally televised games.
According to the memo, teams are prohibited from resting healthy players for a “high-profile, nationally-televised game” and will fine clubs at least $100,000 for violations of the policy, according to Yahoo.
Also, absent unusual circumstances such as injury, COVID-19 recovery or a heavy workload, teams have been asked not to rest multiple healthy players in the same game or on the road.
But, the updated Player Resting Policy does give plenty of leeway to teams to rest players during low-profile games that are not on national TV.
The memo presents examples of scenarios when it is acceptable to rest players, including “to rest a key veteran player who played a substantial role on a team that advanced deep into the 2020 Playoffs, or to rest a player who is still returning to full strength after recovering from COVID-19,” according to ESPN.
That likely means fans shouldn’t expect to see LeBron James, who will turn 36 at the end of the month, playing in every game for the Lakers to start the season as the team looks to cut down on his minutes and keep him fresh.