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NBA approves stricter new resting policy

Adam Pantozzi / National Basketball Association / Getty

The NBA announced new guidelines Wednesday to strengthen punishments for teams that sit healthy star players during national TV games and in-season tournament games. The rules also discourage multiple All-Stars from sitting out regular-season contests together.

Teams will be fined $100,000 for the first violation, $250,000 for a second violation, and $1 million more than the previous penalty for each additional violation, according to a statement from the league.

The player participation policy, which replaces the previous player resting policy, comes into effect this upcoming season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the new policy is "reinforcing that we're an 82-game league," according to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov.

Silver added: "If you're a healthy player in this league, the expectation is that you're going to play."

A star player is defined as someone who's made an All-Star or All-NBA team in the past three seasons. By that definition, the new rules will impact 25 teams and 50 players this season, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.

Unless a team has an approved reason for a star to sit out, teams will be required to: have at least one star player available in every game; ensure stars are available for all national TV and in-season tournament games; balance stars' one-game absences between road and home contests, with a preference for missing home games; and avoid shutting down or reducing the roles of star players in a way that could affect the integrity of the game.

Teams are also supposed to ensure healthy resting players are present and visible to fans at games, which has been a rule since 2017.

The NBA can grant star players the ability to miss back-to-back games if they are over the age of 35 on opening night; have played at least 34,000 minutes in the regular season and playoffs or 1,000 regular-season and postseason games; or have a serious injury history. The policy also makes exceptions for injuries and absences due to personal reasons.

The vote for the implementation of the new resting rule was unanimous and was supported by the players' association.

The league's competition committee reportedly recommended the policies on Monday.

This is the second measure the NBA has taken this year to mitigate load management. In April, the league and the players' association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that requires players to make at least 65 appearances in order to qualify for top individual awards, such as the Most Valuable Player.

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