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Which Heat players are considered 'stars,' per NBA's new resting rules?
The NBA Board of Govenors approved of new resting policies ahead of 2023-24. Which Heat players will be affected?
The NBA Board of Governors approved new resting rules Wednesday in hopes to prevent excessive load management from “star” players and improve the league’s public perception, according to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
That begs the question: Which players are considered “stars,” and how will it affect the Miami Heat?
According to ESPN NBA cap insider and former general manager Bobby Marks, players will qualify as “stars” if they made an All-NBA team or who were named an All-Star within the previous three seasons.
These new rules will affect nearly 50 players leaguewide for 2023-24, including only two Heat players: Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. The last time Kyle Lowry was an All-Star or an All-NBA honoree was in 2019-20, which was four seasons ago, so this rule would not directly affect him.
Of course, if a Damian Lillard trade to the Heat occurs, he falls in line with that criteria too; though that’s currently theoretical instead of a reality because only one side is willing to engage in negotiations.
Here are the new rules that teams must follow, per Marks:
Teams cannot sit more than one “star” player in a single game
Teams must ensure healthy star players are available for National TV, In-Season Tournament contests
Teams must make sure healthy players resting are at games, visible to fans
Teams cannot shut down star players for a long period of time (i.e. in the final 10-20 games of a season if they’re out of contention).
Teams must maintain a balance of home v. road absences for star players, preferring they rest at home games
According to Wojnarowski and Marks, if there is a violation of these rules, teams will be fined $100K for the first offense, $250K for the second and an additional $1 million on top of the previous punishment for each violation thereafter.
The NBA will also require teams to send in a written notice “at least one week prior explaining why the player's participation should be limited,” if a team believes a star player cannot play a back-to-back. Teams can also request approval for a star player on one end of a back-to-back “based on the player's prior or unusual injury history,” which could affect Butler and his knee.
According to Marks, these back-to-back restrictions will not apply to nationally televised games or in-season tournament games unless there’s one leg that doesn’t fit that criteria. The league will also grant exceptions for healthy players who are not playing due to “personal reasons, rare and unusual circumstances, roster management of unavailable players and end-of-season flexibility.”
Last season, Adebayo did not play in at least one leg of two of the Heat’s 14 back-to-backs, appearing in 75 games (91.5 percent). He has appeared in at least 87 percent of the team’s regular-season games in all but one season (2021-22; 68.3 percent) since he was a rookie in 2017-18, when he still played in 69 games.
So these rules shouldn’t affect him much.
Butler, on the other hand, is a slightly different case study.
Since joining Miami ahead of 2019-20, Butler has appeared in 60 games only once: In 2022-23, when he played in 64 games. He did not play in at least one leg of a back-to-back five times last season, which isn’t a drastic amount, but a number worth mentioning.
Every one of the Heat’s 13 back-to-backs in 2023-24 has at least one leg that isn’t nationally televised (excluding NBATV), if either one of Adebayo or Butler were a healthy scratch, which, again, shouldn’t be too much of an issue from a Heat perspective.
Of course, certain teams and certain players will try to maneuver around the rules. Will that be the Heat? I don’t have any inside intel, but my guess is “Probably not,” but only time will tell. What do you think about the new rules and how do you think it affects the Heat? Let us know in the comments!