NBA fines Nets $25K for injury reporting issues

NBA fines Nets $25K for injury reporting issues

The Brooklyn Nets won a game without their top eight players in Indiana. The NBA fined them anyway.

Brooklyn sat their entire starting lineup and three bench players Dec. 10, and went on to win 136-133. The victory didn’t stop the league from fining the Nets, because they didn’t “comply with league policies governing injury reporting.”

It’s not just that the Nets rested half their team, though the NBA strongly discourages doing that on the road absent “unusual circumstances”. Teams are only supposed to rest players at home, with the idea being that home fans get to see those players all the time – it’s not fair to fans in Indiana who likely paid a premium to see Kevin Durant when he sits out.

The Nets simply didn’t give the league a justification for benching eight players. The rule states that by 1 p.m. on game day, the Nets had to “designate a participation status and identify a specific injury, illness or potential instance of a healthy player resting for any player whose participation in the game may be affected by such injury, illness or rest.”

Coach Jacque Vaughn said he thought the Nets acted legally because “everything that’s been reported today has been documented.” Meaning, some of the resting players had been injured previously. The problem is that Vaughn explicitly said Durant was resting, and that’s a no-go on the road.

It’s been a struggle between the league, which wants the best product for fans and viewers, and teams, who often want to “load manage” their stars’ playing time to save them for the playoffs. The NBA can fine teams $100K for resting healthy players in nationally-televised games.

Mainly, the NBA doesn’t want the load management to be blatant. And no matter how injured the Nets may have been, sitting the top eight guys is nothing if not blatant. That’s why the league fined the Spurs $250K back in 2012 for resting top players in a road game and not telling the Heat or the league about it in advance.

Brooklyn’s getting the brunt of this – the Warriors rested Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in both games in New Orleans with no sanctions, but announced it well in advance. Overall, the NBA isn’t banning load management. They’re just telling teams to do it in front of their own fans.

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