Adam Silver Calls Resting Star Players 'Significant Issue' in Memo to NBA Owners

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2017

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 13: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James #23  watch from the bench during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena on April 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Pistons defeated Cleveland 112-110 in overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver is apparently tired of teams resting their marquee players.

On Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported Silver sent a memo to team owners noting the practice will be discussed at the April 6 NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York. Silver called the resting of star players "an extremely significant issue for our league."

He said there could be "significant penalties" for teams that don't give proper "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," per Shelburne.

Silver also stressed owners need to be involved in the decision to rest star players because they have a better understanding than others inside organizations of how rest can impact "fans and business partners" and the "perception of our game."

Shelburne noted ESPN released a statement Monday saying it is working with the NBA while granting it "is a complex issue."

This comes after the Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during Saturday's 108-78 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said the league called him after the decision, per Shelburne.

James turned some heads on the bench, per Dan Favale of Bleacher Report:

The Golden State Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala during a recent 107-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The decision took the luster off what promised to be one of the season's best nationally-televised games.

There is a delicate balancing act at play here, as fans—especially in road arenas who don't always get the chance to see players like Curry and James—pay money to see the stars. What's more, television rights deals help the NBA expand its games to wider audiences, and the money teams and the league get from television deals impacts the salary cap.

However, teams are also striving for championships, and the physically grueling 82-game schedule can impact health and fatigue. It is more important for the Cavaliers that James is at full strength in May than March, and resting him at times during the season logically keeps him fresher.

Griffin echoed that sentiment after Saturday's game, per Shelburne: "Yeah, and they're paying me to win a championship. I'm not overly concerned about the perception of it. We literally had one guy rest tonight, and everybody else was reasonably injured, so I don't feel like we did anything terribly egregious."

For now, the rest is on Silver's radar, and it figures to remain in the headlines as the league responds.