ON THURSDAY, 30 exquisitely appointed and very wealthy NBA owners, or their appointees, will file into an ornate, high-ceilinged midtown Manhattan conference room. According to a leaked memo from NBA commissioner Adam Silver obtained by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the main topic will be “an extremely significant issue for our league.”
The league, Silver’s memo says, is trying to gain control of “the resting of star players in marquee games.”
In many ways, nothing about this is new. The season has always been 82 games, and it has always caused injuries, and resting star players has always been an effective long-term strategy.
What’s new, though, is the clarity of the forces at play. Just as the science has grown adamant that sitting players reduces injuries and improves performance, the economics make clear that some games, played by some players, are many times more important than others to the league’s bottom line.