The NBA is willing to do whatever it takes to provide the most exciting show for the audience, even if it means causing great discomfort to the players. In fact, the league will do everything it can to maintain high ratings in the 2023-24 season.
It became common for a team’s star to sit out games for consecutive nights (for no medical reason). These organizations do this to avoid putting a physical strain on their stars so they can enter the playoffs fresher. But that’s over.
Under the new All-Star bye rules (defined as players who have been selected to the All-NBA Team or All-Star Game in the previous three seasons), teams are not allowed to have star players inactive. They are healthy in games televised on national television or in games in new tournaments held mid-season. If a team commits three violations, it can be fined up to €1 million.
This is very bad news for LeBron James and the Lakers. “King James” will turn 39 in December, and rest at this age is crucial to recovering faster and staying in better shape.
James is not a player who usually takes unnecessary rest. While he did miss 27 games last year (82 in the regular season), 13 of those were due to a right foot injury that sidelined him for a month. He missed five more games with an abdominal injury. Their remaining nine duels are to regulate the load. On top of that, LeBron doesn’t usually play in Monday’s games.
This new rule examines coach Davon Hamm’s potential rest plan for James, as the idea this year is that he can rest in less important games, but if those games will be shown on national television. The plan would be impossible to execute unless the Lakers would rather pay a financial penalty to keep LeBron 100 percent healthy and fresh.
Other stars such as Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry and Joel Embiid will also be affected by this new rule, which protects fans but exhausts players.