It’s common practice for teams, as they near the playoffs, to sit big-name players for regular-season games in order to give them an extra few days of rest.
The Lakers have done so with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in previous seasons, but they’ll have to be extra careful moving forward.
On Friday the NBA announced the San Antonio Spurs have been fined $250,000 for sending four players home instead of to Miami for a game Thursday night. The Spurs chose not to play Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green in what proved to be a 105-100 loss to the Heat.
San Antonio violated the league’s policy “against resting players in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA.”
If the Lakers want to give their players a day off, they’ll have to be careful on how they proceed.
“The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case. The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team’s only regular-season visit to Miami.” said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a prepared statement. “The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.”
Suffice it to say, teams in general will be handling matters like this quite differently moving forward given the sizable precedent set Friday by the league.