The last NBA season just wrapped up, but the next season is already almost here. There is still a lot to be done between now and December 22, the expected start date, and the league and the teams are scrambling to get everything in place. In preparation of the new season, and in an effort to keep fans engaged, the league is ready to introduce a little bit of support this year.
The NBA Breaks Out Its Wallet
The NBA Commissioner’s office has announced that the league will loan a total of $900 million to the 30 teams that make up the NBA, according to Sports Business Journal. $30 million will be distributed to each of the 30 teams in the league to help the teams “navigate financial burdens” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teams should receive the funds later this month, in time for Santa Claus, and they can be used by the teams to fill any organizational needs necessary. There was a 10% drop in team revenues last year due to the coronavirus, which amounted to a loss of about $800 million in gate receipts, including ticket sales, concessions and other game day income that make up about 40% of NBA revenue.
The upcoming NBA season promises to yield more of the same as last year, with only two of the 30 clubs having announced that they will admit a limited number of fans in for the games. The Utah Jazz will let up to 1,500 fans through the gates, while the Cleveland Cavaliers plan to let a very limited 300 fans into each game.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the US, it is doubtful that attendance would be very strong even if they sold discount tickets and gave away free beer. With hospitals full to capacity, basketball fans will be staying at home to watch the games on TV.
No Rest For Key Players
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has announced that teams will no longer be allowed to rest healthy players for high profile nationally televised NBA games. Last year, the practice got out of hand and became a hot topic of conversation by coaches and commentators.
So, the league has instituted a new policy for the 2020-21 season prohibiting the resting of healthy players during the televised games. They can rest when they get home, or back to the hotel.
In order to discourage the resting act, teams will be fined $100,000 minimum per violation of the new ruling. Last year, high profile players were allowed to pick and choose when they would sit out a game in order to rest up for what they considered to be a more important one coming up.
The result was NBA games shown in prime time with a visible lack of star power on the basketball court while they laughed and joked all game long on the sidelines. NBA fans began to see the practice as a kind of rip-off and they were not pleased.
Load Management Now Prohibited
Then, Kawhi Leonard introduced what he called ‘load management’ and too many other top players started to think that was a good plan for them as well. Now, it will cost them a cool $100,000 for that little rest.
With only about nine weeks having gone by since the 2020 NBA Finals down in Orlando, there could be some of the older veteran players who were figuring on taking a little time off and calling it load management in order to recuperate.
Those guys are now having to come up with a plan B.
But, this is nothing new. It has been building up for several seasons and came to a head last year when the commissioner’s office fined the LA Clippers $50,000 for refusing to follow the league guidelines when Leonard sat out on a TV game with the Milwaukee Bucks. That fine would not even been applied to the Clips had then head coach Doc Rivers made a comment about Kawhi’s health in his post-game comments.
However, new season, new rules this year.