Just two days after the NBA voiced its displeasure with the Cavaliers for resting their "Big Three" on national television, the league sent a sternly worded memo to all teams calling extra rest "an extremely significant issue."
The memo, obtained Monday by ESPN.com,warns teams will suffer "significant penalties" if they don't provide notice before a player will sit due to rest. The issue, commissioner Adam Silver wrote, willbe debated at the next NBA Board of Governors meeting April 6.
Silver also wrote in the memo he believes it's wrong for owners to defer decision-making on resting players to others within the franchise, who may not understand the impact it has onfans, sponsors,league reputation and "perception of our game."
LeBron James, along withKyrie IrvingandKevin Love, who were both on the mend from knee injuries,sat out for the Cavaliers'contest against the Clippers Saturday, which was broadcast on ABC. Irving and Love weren't healthy enough to play, according toCavaliers general managerDavid Griffin, who didn't want James to take on the Clippers alone.
"Seven minutes after it was announced. Yeah, they were not happy,"Griffin told ESPN.com about getting a call from the league office."I feel bad for the league. I really do. But it is what it is for us from an injury standpoint.We literally had oneguy rest tonight and everybody else was reasonably injured. I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious."
The Warriors and Spurs have also restedstar players this season, most notably in a primetime head-to-head matchup on ABC earlier this month.
ESPN addressed the issue Monday in a statement about teams resting their star players during nationally televised games.
"As always, our aim is to serve NBA fans with the best matchups involving the league's top stars and we share the fans' disappointment," the statement said. "We understand this is a complex issue and we're working closely with the NBA to best address it going forward from a media partnership standpoint."