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#pounditSaturday, September 19, 2020

NBA releases statement on Clippers resting Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard will sit out his second game of the season on Wednesday night as part of his load management plan, and he and the Los Angeles Clippers are facing some criticism since their game against the Milwaukee Bucks will be nationally televised. However, the NBA says they are not violating any rules.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Wednesday that Leonard is “not a healthy player under the league’s resting policy,” as the Clippers have listed him with a knee injury on their injury report. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes that the Clippers have worked closely with the NBA and provided the necessary medical information.

Teams resting star players for nationally televised games has been a controversial topic for a few years now. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich popularized the tactic as a way of keeping his star players fresh for the postseason, and the NBA has since tried to discourage teams from engaging in the practice. There was a report last year that the league threatened to hit the New Orleans Pelicans with a massive fine for the way they were handling Anthony Davis’ playing time, but Bass denied that at the time.

While it would appear the Clippers have taken all the necessary steps to rest Leonard “legally,” Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reports that people in NBA circles still consider it an issue. One possible solution that has been proposed is to avoid having the first or second game of a back-to-back on national television, that way it will be less likely that a team is going to rest its star players.

Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs went up in flames because of the way his quad injury was handled, and he credited the Toronto Raptors’ load management plan for helping him dominate in the playoffs last year. The Clippers are aiming for the same result, so they’re going to do everything they can to stick to Leonard’s preferred plan.

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