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Adam Silver defends players over load management, says it’s the teams who make the decision

Adam Silver

This should certainly engender even more goodwill for Adam Silver from NBA players. During a wide-ranging press conference on Friday, the commissioner shielded the league’s players from criticism regarding “load management,” instead placing the onus for healthy players sitting out games on the multi-billion dollar businesses that employ them.

“I’m incredibly sympathetic to that fan who is especially at the away game where that star player is there and that’s the game that player is being rested. On the other hand, it’s in the collective interest of the entire league that those players remain healthy for the playoffs,” Silver said.

“And load management, sometimes it’s science, but sometimes it’s art. I will say on behalf of our players, it’s generally the organizations that are running these load management programs; it’s not players raising their hand and saying, ‘I don’t want to play,’ and often it’s over players’ objections. So we’ve got to strike the right balance.”

The Philadelphia 76ers first popularized the term “load management” to describe resting players during the Sam Hinkie era. It was specifically used in reference to Joel Embiid, who as a rookie — after missing his first two NBA seasons with injury — was playing on strict restrictions of minutes and games played. Two years later, superstars like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kawhi Leonard each missed games due to what their teams termed “load management.”

Maybe most interesting among Silver’s comments on Friday was his insistence that the NBA isn’t married to the 82-game schedule. He even publicly broached the idea of regenerating revenue lost from shortening the regular season by conducting in-season tournaments, a radical change that’s recently gained some steam among certain league followers.