Odds of which NBA team will be fined first in the 2023-24 season for resting a healthy player are featured here. On Wednesday, the league’s Board of Governors voted to pass the new player participation policy (PPP). The NBA’s Competition Committee pushed for harsher penalties and stricter guidelines for resting healthy players.
The NBA is also allowing pre-approved designated back-to-back allowances for players who are 35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined. “Star” requirements refer to any player who is selected to the All-Star Game during that season.
Seven NBA veterans are exempt from this new rule — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, and James Harden. Prior to the 2017-18 season, the NBA first implemented a player resting policy (PRP) for all 30 teams.
Odds of which NBA team will be fined first for resting a healthy player in the 2023-24 season: Los Angeles Clippers are favorites
Since 2017, NBA teams have been prohibited from resting healthy players for any high-profile and nationally televised game. Teams were fined at least $100,000 for violating this rule. The PPP affects any player who has earned All-Star or All-NBA status within the past three seasons.
If two superstar players on the same team sustain at least minor injuries, the team will avoid penalties for resting them in the same games. The only exceptions the league is granting to teams include roster management of unavailable star players, multigame absences for bona fide injury, personal reasons, end-of-season flexibility, and rare and unusual circumstances.
Under the new PPP, NBA teams will be fined $100,000 for a first violation, $250,000 for a second violation, and $1 million more than the previous penalty for each additional violation. Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Western Conference teams hold the highest probability of being fined first.
Odds from the BetOnline sportsbook are featured below.
Los Angeles Clippers (+200)
The Clippers are favored to become the first NBA team to receive a fine for resting a healthy player in the 2023-24 season. How come? The Western Conference contender has a history of resting its stars. Two NBA veterans on the Clippers are affected by this new rule — Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Last season, Leonard came off the bench his first two games of the regular season. Clippers coach Tyron Lue said this decision was made to “manage his minutes.” The five-time All-Star made his first appearance since tearing his right ACL in June 2021.
As for George, he suffered a right leg injury in a 101-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 21. The next day, the Clippers announced that George was diagnosed with a right knee sprain and would be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks, ending his regular season.
The Clippers sat both George and Leonard in one end of several back-to-backs, including Jan. 29 at Cleveland. While they might have been able to get approval for Leonard’s absence, sitting George in conjunction with Leonard would have been against the new rules.
Phoenix Suns (+250)
The Brooklyn Nets rested their entire starting lineup, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, in a Dec. 10 game at Indiana. Although the Nets went on win 136-133 away, they would have been fined at least $100,000 for resting Irving and Simmons in the same game.
Before last season’s trade deadline in February, Durant was traded to the Suns. As stated above, Durant is exempt from the new rule. The 15-year veteran turns 25 on Sept. 29, and he’s logged 36,181 regular-season minutes. However, All-Stars Bradley Beal and Devin Booker are not exceptions.
The Washington Wizards shut down Beal for their final 10 regular-season games, citing knee soreness. Under the new rules, the Wizards would have been investigated by the league for possibly violating the PPP.
During the 2023 offseason, Washington traded Beal, Jordan Goodwin, and Isaiah Todd to the Suns for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, six second-round draft picks (2024-28, 2030), four first-round draft picks (2024, 2026, 2028, 2030), and $3.5 million cash. Paul was then traded to the Golden State Warriors.
In April, the Dallas Mavericks were hit with a $750,000 fine after they rested several players, including All-Star Kyrie Irving, in their 115-112 loss against the Chicago Bulls on April 7. Luka Doncic played the first 12 minutes, 35 seconds before sitting out the remainder of the game. Of course, the Mavs’ loss to Chicago eliminated them from play-in contention.
Los Angeles Lakers (+300)
Lastly, the Los Angeles Lakers hold third-shortest odds to be fined first by the NBA for resting a healthy player. The two All-Stars affected are LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While James turns 39 in December and has played 54,093 minutes in the regular season, Davis is not an exception.
Then there’s injuries to consider. James made 55 appearances with the Lakers last season. In the 2021-22 season, the four-time MVP appeared in 56 games. He also played only 45 games in 2020-21. Over the past three seasons, the 19-time All-Star missed games either because of injury or load management.
Meanwhile, Davis has played in even fewer regular-season games (36 in 2020-21, 40 in 2021-22, and 56 in 2022-23). For the good news, most of the games both James and Davis missed the last few seasons have been injury related. This falls under the “bona fide injury” exception.
Nevertheless, just to be safe, it is up to Lakers coach Darvin Ham to prevent both stars from resting in the same nationally televised or in-season tournament game. The league’s limit on the number of rest days available to each team may increase the risk of injuries.
Note that Los Angeles has 28 nationally televised games for 2023-24, the second most this season. The Golden State Warriors have 30 primetime games next season. Similar to Kevin Durant and LeBron James, Golden State guards Chris Paul and Stephen Curry are also exempt from the new rule.