The San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of a brutal stretch that features six games in nine nights, including two sets of back-to-backs in a five-day span. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has decided to rest his stars, but not for the team’s nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
Instead, Popovich will rest Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol for the Spurs’ Friday night matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, the team announced on Thursday. Manu Ginobili (right quad), Danny Green (left quad), and rookie Dejounte Murray (groin) will also miss Friday’s game nursing injuries.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo to team owners in late March, according to USA Today, urging they play a bigger role in pushing back against the recent trend of top teams resting their star players. In the memo, Silver described the resting issue as “an extremely significant issue for our league” and noted that teams will face “significant penalties” if they stray from the protocol of reporting player injuries.
The Spurs have been known to rest their senescent stars during the regular season to preserve them for the playoffs, but the trend has spread to other teams this season
The Golden State Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in a nationally televised March 10 loss to the Spurs, who lacked their top guns due to injury. A week later, the Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers.