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NBA 65-Game Rule: Impact and Perspectives
- Updated: January 18, 2024
The NBA has implemented a new rule that mandates players to participate in a minimum of 65 games to be considered eligible for major individual awards such as Most Valuable Player (MVP), Defensive Player of the Year, and All-NBA honors. The rule, introduced in October as part of an initiative to discourage load management, could have significant implications for players’ financial incentives and postseason honors.
This regulation, which accounts for nearly 80% of the 82-game regular season, reflects the league’s effort to underscore the importance of the regular season and encourage teams to field their star players more consistently. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver emphasized the collaboration with the players’ association in negotiating this rule, aiming to enhance the competitiveness of the regular season.
Starting in the 2023-24 season, players must meet one of two criteria to be eligible for MVP, All-NBA team, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive team, or Most Improved Player honors: either playing in at least 65 regular-season games or playing in at least 62 games, suffering a season-ending injury, and participating in at least 85% of the team’s games before the injury.
The article points out that the new rule, intended to address concerns about the increase in missed games among star players over the years, has implications for players’ financial futures. It highlights instances from the previous season where prominent players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, and Damian Lillard would not have been eligible for honors under the new rule.
Financially, the rule could impact players’ contracts and eligibility for lucrative extensions. For example, players like Pascal Siakam could have qualified for a supermax contract extension if the rule had been in place last season. The article identifies current players, including Jamal Murray, Bam Adebayo, and De’Aaron Fox, who might be affected this season based on their games missed.
Players express mixed feelings about the rule, with some, like Adebayo, stating that they prefer to focus on playing the game rather than worrying about awards. The article discusses the significant financial stakes involved, with potential differences of millions in contracts based on awards eligibility.
There are provisions in place for players falling short of the 65-game threshold to file a grievance within two days, citing evidence that the team intentionally limited their minutes or games played to affect award eligibility. The article details the injury-related clause and an “extraordinary circumstances” clause, although injuries might not be considered sufficient grounds for exemption.
In conclusion, the NBA’s new 65-game rule brings forth considerations about player workload, financial implications, and the overall competitiveness of the regular season. Players navigate the challenges posed by the rule while the league aims to strike a balance between player rest and the integrity of the competition.