The NBA didn't single out any team or player specifically when announcing new rest rules for the upcoming season. It doesn't take much deduction or critical thinking for even the most casual NBA fan to know exactly which franchise is bound to be most affected by the player participation policy. Unsurprisingly, betting markets have taken notice of the Los Angeles Clippers' seemingly inevitable liability, too.
No doubt playing off the injury-plagued recent tenures of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, BetOnline placed +200 odds on the Clippers being the ‘First Team Fined for Resting a Healthy Player,' the lowest number in the league. LA is followed by the Phoenix Suns at +250 and Los Angeles Lakers at +300. No other team has odds lower than +500 to be the first one fined by the league office for violating the player participation policy.
Again, the Clippers' inclusion at the top of this list is hardly shocking. The term ‘load management' was first popularized by Leonard following a nagging right quad injury that ultimately caused his exit from the San Antonio Spurs. He's been a healthy scratch for tens of games throughout his career in LA, the team always extremely wary of Leonard feeling any injury-related discomfort—especially after he tore his right ACL in the 2021 playoffs. Leonard, remember, only played the first two games of the Clippers' second-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns last spring before being sidelined by a sprain in that same knee.
George, meanwhile, has been an imminent health risk ever since suffering a devastating right leg injury during a USA Basketball exhibition in 2014. The 56 games he played last season are the most George has appeared in during his four-year stretch in LA. George missed all of the 2023 playoffs after suffering a right knee sprain in late March, his proving absence longer than initially anticipated.