Stern: NBA will discuss resting players
NEW YORK -- Players resting at the end of the regular season will be discussed among NBA executives, though commissioner David Stern doesn't see anything coming of it.
With a healthy LeBron James set to miss his fourth straight game Wednesday night, Stern said he is putting the matter on the agenda for the board of governors meetings Thursday and Friday in New York.
"We're troubled by it, because it would be our preference that healthy players play," the commissioner said during his annual pre-playoffs conference call.
"But sometimes players play at different levels of being nicked or bruised and we never wanted to get into the business of sending out truckloads of doctors analyzing whether a player was actually nicked or bruised, and we understand the issue," he said.
However, it sounds as if it will be left up to the teams to decide if they want their stars playing in meaningless games at the end of the regular season.
"I think it's a fair item for discussion," Stern said. "I'm not sure that the policing function is something that the league and the owners will want to get deeply involved in, but it's a point and I'll be expressing my views to the governors in the executive session."
Stern added he will talk to the Chicago Bulls' representative to the board to get a better idea of what happened between coach Vinny Del Negro and vice president John Paxson. Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Paxson shoved Del Negro twice in the chest and had to be restrained in a confrontation over Joakim Noah's minutes after a March 30 home game against the Phoenix Suns.
"If it happened -- if it happened -- it's not something that should and we'll be talking to Chicago about that," said Stern, who couldn't predict if there would be any league punishment.
"I don't have our entire list of what we've done, but my guess is over the years we have taken action of some kind if teams engage in conduct that's detrimental to the league," Stern said. "I want to understand better, exactly how detrimental this was and what actually occurred."
Stern watched as the issue of healthy players sitting out was debated at the end of last season's NFL regular season. The NFL is now trying to schedule as many division games as possible in the final two weeks of the 2010 season in hopes of more meaningful contests that will eliminate the issue.
Now Stern's league has to decide if it faces the same problem.
The Cavaliers haven't played James since clinching the NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. While fans in Atlanta, where Cleveland plays Wednesday, would likely prefer to see the league's MVP, the Cavs have plenty of reason not to play him.
The Boston Celtics' title defense was ruined last year when Kevin Garnett missed the postseason, and late-season injuries this season to the Milwaukee Bucks' Andrew Bogut and Portland Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy will hurt their playoff chances.
"We watch and look at the risks of always playing, like a Brandon Roy, who did play on Sunday and was injured," Stern said. "But our inclination is that this is a matter of the teams to look at and look their fans in the face. To look their competitive colleagues in the face and make, hopefully, the right decision."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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