Nets first to be fined under NBA39s new player rest

Nets first to be fined under NBA's new player rest policy – The Athletic

The Brooklyn Nets became the first team to be penalized by the NBA for violating its newly implemented player participation policy. The league fined the organization $100,000 for sitting four players who otherwise could have played in a Dec. 27 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Nets kept Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Johnson, Nic Claxton and Dorian Finney-Smith out that night, citing injuries, maintenance and rest. The team also barely played with three other top players; Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas and Royce O'Neale played in the first quarter and sat the rest of the game.

The NBA said it investigated the Nets' decision and consulted its own independent doctor. The league concluded that these four players could have played in the game based on the medical standards set forth in the policy.

It was a test case for the NBA's efforts to play its top players more often this season. The league adopted a new player participation policy before this season that sets new guidelines for when top players can sit and when they must play. The NBA's goal was to get them to play much more often after the league heard complaints about load management for its stars and even its non-stars. None of the players the Nets rested made an All-Star team.

The penalty for the first violation is $100,000 and the Nets are the first team to draw the league's wrath.

“I have to think short-term and long-term and make leadership decisions for the good of the group,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters after the game. He added: “It's unfortunate that they've just gotten to the point tonight where we're putting them in danger by leaving them out tonight.”

Although none of the players the Nets rested were on an All-Star team, the new policy gave the NBA the ability to continue investigating and disciplining teams for violations. From its silence policy: “The league office may, in its sole discretion, determine to investigate and/or impose disciplinary action on other circumstances involving the non-participation of a star player (or other player).”

Major league executives said before the season began that the research behind load management no longer supports its use. Commissioner Adam Silver compared load management to Sudafed and suggested it didn't work.

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(Photo: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)