LeBron James on teams resting players: ‘It sucks at times’
The Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night became the second high-profile NBA team to rest starters during a nationally televised game, following the Golden State Warriors last week. The Cavs were already sitting Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving was deemed out due to knee soreness, so Tyronn Lue elected to rest LeBron James as well in a 108-79 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
This didn’t sit well with the NBA, which reportedly led to a phone call to Cavaliers general manager David Griffin about it.
James has since reacted to the widespread criticism of the practice of resting players.
“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it,” James said Sunday night following Cleveland’s 125-20 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, as transcribed by Dime Mag. “At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest. And it’s a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You’re going to have back-to-backs. You’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game.”
It’s certainly a justifiable stance articulated by James. But the fact remains the NBA has a problem with the increasing frequency of teams resting players in road games, a policy infamously instituted first by the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.
Fans of teams in the Western Conference like the Clippers, for instance, only get one opportunity to see James in action in person each season, and paying top-dollar to end up being shortchanged is a problem that merits examination.
Then again, as James alluded to, the onus in on a coach to keep in mind the long-term goals of the team, not the desires of an opposing fan base.
There has been plenty of discussion concerning the issue. The NBA, though, ought to address it once and for all to help avoid these kind of situations.