NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly "aggressive" in his pursuit of a solution to the league's problem of teams resting healthy players during the regular season, especially for nationally televised games.
On Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver urged Silver, who considers sitting out star players an "economic issue," to use his power to invoke change, and the "reluctant commissioner" is now considering the use of fines and other punishments to eradicate the practice.
Although coaches giving nights off to their top players during the 82-game regular season isn't new, the inability to find a solution has allowed the problem to become more prominent in recent years.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has used the tactic frequently to keep his roster fresh, especially when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were leading an aging roster. In 2012, the team received a $250,000 fine from former Commissioner David Stern.
Silver has continued to push for reform since taking the league's top executive post.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today passed along comments the current commish made in April about what he described as the "biggest issue facing the league."
"I only say this is a complex issue because many of our coaches have pointed out that as disappointing as it is for any individual fan on a night where a player is rested, if we all came to the point where we accepted the science (and) the medical data supports genuine resting as improving performance and prolonging careers and reducing injuries, I think we'd all have to agree that it does make sense at certain points in the season to rest players," Silver said. "Now, I'm hopeful we can accomplish much of our goals by better scheduling. The additional week I mentioned will make a huge difference in avoiding the four games out of five nights and reducing back-to-backs significantly."
Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post noted the NBA built more rest days into the 2017-18 schedule around the marquee national TV games in part by adding an extra week to the regular-season slate.
Wojnarowski noted the push for more rules in order to keep stars on the court for big games has so far met "little resistance" from ownership given Silver's warning that "future revenues and growth are directly tied to solving the resting issue."