Explaining the NBA Rule Changes for 2019-20 Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Referee Derek Richardson#63 handles the ball during a pre-season game between the LA Clippers and the Denver Nuggets on October 10, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
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While player movement dominated the headlines during the offseason, the different jerseys for some of the league's biggest stars won't be the only changes in the NBA's 2019-20 season.

There were a number of rule changes implemented during the offseason, which are highlighted below.

          

Coaches Can Now Challenge Once Per Game

As Steve Aschburner of NBA.com broke down, coaches around the league will be given one challenge per game to utilize when they disagree with a call from an official.

Coaches must call a timeout to use the challenge, and they only get one throughout the contest regardless of the final ruling. If the challenge is won, the team that initiated the review receives its timeout back.

The challenge can only be made for three different plays: when the challenging team's player is called for a foul, on an out-of-bounds decision or on a goaltending/basket interference ruling against the challenging team.

Coaches can use this new tool throughout the entire game if questioning a foul called against their team but can only challenge on an out-of-bounds or goaltending situation in the first 46 minutes because the traditional replay system that calls for automatic reviews on borderline plays in the last two minutes is still in place.

"I've been a proponent of it for many years, just as an additional layer of security," Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said, per Aschburner. "If a call's inaccurate for any reason, it's just an extra chance—particularly if the game's on the line—to get it right."

          

Coaches Must Decide on Their Starting Lineups Earlier

All coaches must submit their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff this season.

This will surely come in handy for those sports gamblers who want to wager on the games and be aware of which stars are sitting out on a given night before doing so. It will come in handy for fantasy basketball players as well.

         

New Points of Emphasis for Officials

Aschburner noted there are a number of new points of emphasis for officials this season, the most notable of which involves traveling.

NBA vice president of referee development and training Monty McCutchen said there will be a "more stringent enforcement" of traveling. What's more, "the gather" is now officially in the league's rulebook, which states that players can take two steps from the moment they fully control the ball.

Additional points of emphasis include illegal contact initiated by the offense, "freedom of movement" and "respect for the game" moments that will allow officials to determine if players go over the top when reacting to a call.

That's probably something for Draymond Green, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to keep in mind after they led the league in technical fouls last season.

          

Stricter Punishment for Tampering

Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com reported in September the NBA's board of governors approved stricter punishments around the league for tampering and salary-cap circumvention.

Teams can lose draft picks and be fined up to $10 million if they violate the tampering rules. What's more, executives can be suspended and contracts can be voided.

Perhaps the biggest development is the fact teams have to save communications with agents for an entire year, and five teams per season will be subject to random auditing. 

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