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NY Post
New York Post
1 Apr 2023


NextImg:The NBA is finally doing something about its load-management issue

NBA players will need to appear in 65 games in order to qualify for postseason awards such as MVP and All-NBA team, according to ESPN.

The threshold, included in the new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and NBA Players Association, will address load management and scenarios where star players continue to miss games with a “rest” label attached to their name on the injury report.

ESPN reported that the “65-game minimum does come with some conditions,” but it’s unclear, at this point, what those caveats are and whether they include different condition injuries.

The Athletic reported March 13 that Pelicans guard CJ McCollum and Suns guard Chris Paul spoke about the load management issue at a Competition Committee meeting.

They detailed how it occasionally “stems from teams wanting to have players sit either to preserve them, to manage the schedule of games or to satisfy potential organizational goals for the season,” The Athletic wrote, and there was reportedly a shared agreement that the concept could be addressed in the collective bargaining agreement.

Adam Silver has spoken in the past about trying to find a solution to load management.
Getty Images

“We want to make sure that we have a system where our best players are incentivized to be on the floor,” Silver said in June 2022, according to The Athletic. “At the same time, we obviously don’t want to see them injured.”

The key, then, was for the two sides to find a balance, and the 65-game minimum will start with the 2023-24 season — the first season the new collective bargaining agreement kicks in.

Giannis Antetokounmpo could've been one 2023 MVP candidate impacted by the load management threshold.

Giannis Antetokounmpo could’ve been one 2023 MVP candidate impacted by the load management threshold.
Getty Images

Joel Embiid could be an MVP candidate this year, but the new collective bargaining agreement might change how much he rests moving forward.

Joel Embiid could be an MVP candidate this year with the 76ers.
Getty Images

According to The Athletic, just three players inside the top 10 for the MVP voting (12 players, with three tied for 10th place) logged more than 68 games — Nikola Jokic, DeMar DeRozan and Jayson Tatum.

Four players from that 2021-22 list wouldn’t qualify under the new rule, as Steph Curry (8th place, 64 games), Ja Morant (7th place, 57 games), LeBron James (tied for 10th, 56 games) and Kevin Durant (tied for 10th, 55 games) didn’t meet the 65-game threshold.

This season, the new rule could’ve impacted the eligibility of players such as Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo based on their current pace, according to CBS Sports — though that could change depending on how many 76ers and Bucks games, respectively, they play in to close the regular season.

Not all players follow that same trend, though.

Knicks star Julius Randle has rejected the theory of load management and said he has “my own science,” while the Nets’ Mikal Bridges — who arrived from Phoenix at the trade deadline in the Durant deal — hasn’t missed a game throughout his entire NBA career.

“I just put way too much into my body, for me personally to cheat myself out of being available for my team,” Randle said in March.

And now, the NBA appears to have a system in place for those players — and teams — who approach the topic differently.