NBA’s new resting rules may only get shrug from the Wolves. Here’s why

With the NBA’s impending new television contracts, the league is taking a stronger stance against star players resting during games. This offseason, several changes were implemented to encourage players to play and ensure their availability.

Starting from the season openers on Tuesday night, teams are now prohibited from resting more than one star player in a single game, unless they are injured. Additionally, the league mandates that star players must be available for nationally televised games. If rest is necessary, teams are encouraged to rest their stars during home games rather than road games, where opposing fans may only have one opportunity per season to see a particular star player.

There may be penalties for teams that excessively rest their stars during road games.

The league defines a star player as someone who has been an All-Star or a member of an All-NBA team in the previous three seasons. For the Minnesota Timberwolves, players meeting this criteria include Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards.

Although this policy is expected to have less impact on the Wolves, who begin their season Wednesday night in Toronto, it could pose a bigger challenge for other teams.

“Our players have always had a desire to play, and that’s the approach we intend to maintain,” stated coach Chris Finch. “We will not actively seek to rest anyone.”

Towns and Edwards have rarely missed games due to load management throughout their careers, while Gobert has consistently played in at least 68 games over the past five seasons. Edwards even gained recognition across the league last season for expressing his belief that star players should always be available.

Here’s how this policy might affect the Timberwolves:

They have a back-to-back game at Detroit on January 17, followed by a home game against Memphis on January 18. The game against Memphis will be broadcasted on TNT, meaning the Wolves need to ensure that Edwards, Gobert, and Towns are available to play. If one of them needs rest, it would have to be during the previous night’s game in Detroit, and only one of them would be allowed to rest.

The league is also providing incentives for players to continue playing by setting a participation minimum for league awards like the All-NBA teams. To qualify for these postseason lists, players must participate in at least 65 games, which can have contract implications. For example, if Edwards makes the All-NBA team this season, the value of his recently signed contract extension would increase from approximately $217 million to $260 million.

Edwards made headlines in February during the All-Star Game when he criticized load-management strategies in the league.

“Just play, man. If you’re 80% healthy, you should play,” Edwards stated. “I dislike all the sitting out and missing games. Some people can only afford to attend one game, and that might be the game you choose to sit out.”


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