NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he expects players to stand for the national anthem, which is a league rule.
He wants them to remain active in their communities and take part in what can be difficult discussions, but he says they understand it’s important to show respect for the flag.
Silver didn’t say what would happen if any players refuse to stand, adding: “If that were to happen, we’ll deal with it when it happens.”
He spoke following the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings, during which owners passed rules designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing games on purpose to improve their draft position.
Under the new draft lottery rules, the teams with the three worst records will all have 14 percent odds to land the No. 1 pick when the changes are implemented with the 2019 draft.
The team with the worst record previously had 25 percent odds to win the lottery and could fall to the No. 4 spot in the draft. Now that team call tumble all the way to fifth.
The lottery changes were to discourage tanking, the practice of losing games on purpose in an effort to improve draft odds. The Philadelphia 76ers relied on the tactic heavily in recent years and the league felt it needed to step in and urge teams to always be competitive.
“These changes were necessary to improve the competitive incentives for our teams,” NBA President of Operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.
The board voted to allow Silver to fine teams who violate the league’s new guidelines about resting players. Teams can’t sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.
The rules also say that unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.
In other NBA news:
-- LeBron James turned his left ankle during practice Wednesday night, his first workout with newly signed teammate Dwyane Wade, and the severity of the injury is unknown. A Cavaliers spokesman said James had X-rays, which were negative. The three-time NBA champion didn’t practice Thursday so he could undergo treatment. He’s expected to be day to day. Wade, a 12-time All-Star will be introduced by the Cavs on Friday following practice. He missed Thursday’s workout to attend to a personal matter.
-- Prosecutors urged a jury Thursday to convict NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris of assault charges for their role in the 2015 beating of a former acquaintance in a case that has delayed the start of their season as they stand trial in a Phoenix courtroom with training camps now underway. Marcus plays for the Boston Celtics, and Markieff is with the Washington Wizards. They are accused of helping three other people beat Erik Hood on Jan. 24, 2015, outside a high school basketball game. At the time, they played for the Phoenix Suns. The Morris brothers face the possibility of probation or prison time and discipline from the NBA if convicted.