Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James sat out the Cavaliers’ contest versus the Los Angeles Clippers last Saturday for rest purposes, as did his star teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
This was the second straight Saturday that the NBA’s national prime-time game on ABC was a letdown. The Golden State Warriors versus the San Antonio Spurs was the previous Saturday game, where Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala were all rested and Kevin Durant, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge all missed the game due to separate health issues.
Usually, rest comes mostly into play for contending teams, especially when back-to-back scenario come into play. Whole the Cavaliers had Friday off before their Saturday game versus the Clippers, they were scheduled to play the Lakers the next game. Cavaliers general manager David Griffin and head coach Tyronn Lue however made the executive decision that resting their star trio on Saturday was more important then Sunday.
You can bet the NBA was unhappy with Cleveland’s decision, too. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported then that Griffin told her that after the Cavaliers announced that James, Irving, and Love would not play because of rest, the league called them seven minutes later.
Griffin seemed to understand where the NBA was coming from, but he of course had his own perspective on it as well. Many turn to the fact that players resting is bad because it doesn’t give the fans that attend and watch the game the proper experience, but Griffin said he is being paid to win a championship. This is often the most common item brought up my league executives when asked about player resting.
So what can the NBA do about? There is no clear-cut answer, as James pointed out earlier on Monday:
“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it,” James told ESPN. “At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest.”
“And it’s a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You’re going to have back-to-backs. You’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game.”
Cleveland has yet to win a game this season where LeBron doesn’t play, and teams like the Spurs and Warriors struggle when their star players are also used as spectators. The one thing you can’t fault teams doing is valuing regular season success less than playoff success.
Resting players is almost like a luxury that only certain teams have. Teams that already have their playoff spot basically solidified can be more flexible, whereas teams battling for one of the final playoff seeds have to micromanage each minute,
Some NBA players will forever be against rest, while others will tend to side with James on the issue. Where do you stand on the issue? Let us know in the poll following this article.
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