On Monday, the NBA announced a new policy in regards to resting players for the upcoming 2020-21 season. In a memo sent to teams, the NBA outlined the new a handful of policies regarding resting players that helped teams advance in the 2020 NBA Playoffs as well as those recovering from COVID-19.
It also outlines the protocols for resting players on nationally televised games. ESPN obtained the memo, which contained the following:
“The memo also reinforces rules around nationally televised games that have been in place for multiple seasons, stating that teams are prohibited from resting healthy players for a “high-profile, nationally-televised game.” It states that any team that chooses to do this will be fined at least $100,000.”
New Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy spoke to the media on Monday afternoon and was wholly in support of the outlined points in the league’s memo as showed particularly strong support of the fans.
“I’ve been in agreement with everything the league has done to try to get us to play our players when they’re healthy,” he said. “I think the thing we can never forget when you’re in pro sports is the people who make our leagues, I don’t care if the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, it’s the fans that make the league. Without the fans, we have no league. We have nobody buying TV rights. We have nothing without the fans and we need to respect those fans at all times. I don’t think anybody should be running an injured player out there or putting somebody in danger.
“But you have to be careful about simply resting guys when there are people that are going to watch. I know this year there’s not going to be many people, if any, in the arenas but there are people tuning in on TV. So, what the NBA said basically was they’ll give us some leeway in non-nationally-televised games but they want notification if we’re resting healthy people in a nationally televised game. I think that’s pretty realistic.
“I think, to respect the fans, healthy players should play all the time as a respect to your fans,” Van Gundy added. “I just think sometimes we forget about that element of it that fans make the entire league and let’s show them some respect.”
The Pelicans will certainly have a healthy dose of nationally televised games this season, 19 in total. However, the Pelicans likely won’t have many players that will require rest this season as the team is largely comprised of young players.