Report: Bulls warned by league to stop resting healthy players
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo to all 30 teams recently saying that while developing younger players is a legitimate way to improve a team (especially late in the season for those out of the playoff chase) he would not tolerate tanking. That led to plenty of questions around the league about where that line is, especially for the franchises in the eight-team tankapaloza going on at the bottom of the NBA standings right now.Chicago has rested veteran center Robin Lopez for six straight games and wing Justin Holiday five of the past six, instead starting David Nwaba (and playing heavy minutes for their young guys such as Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and Lauri Markkanen who could be part of their future). That has crossed the line and the NBA league office warned the Bulls, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
After the NBA issued a warning to the Chicago Bulls this week about resting healthy players, the franchise now plans to play veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday more extensively the remainder of the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Bulls have lost 14 of their past 17 games and publicly stated in mid-February that they would begin sitting Lopez and Holiday....
The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver formally informed team owners about resting healthy players – perhaps an effort to diminish the league-wide verbiage of “tanking” – after the league moved up the start of this season to spread games out for coaches and players. The Bulls changed course on their plans to continue sitting Lopez and Holiday in the past day, league sources said.
Bulls president John Paxson discussed the issue with Nick Friedel of ESPN.
Pax (1/2): "After the All-Star Break we had communication with the league office about Robin and Justin's roles -- after healthy dialogue the league determined that their situations fall into the 'player rest' policy ... "— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) March 7, 2018
Pax (2/2) "We respect the communication and cooperative dialogue with the league and will adhere to their recommendations going forward."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) March 7, 2018
What exactly is “adhere to their recommendations” in practice? Do the Bulls start Lopez and Holiday, but play them 15 minutes or so a night and then get the young guys in? Exactly how much do they have to play them, because the Bulls currently would head into the lottery in eighth, giving them a 9.9 percent chance at a top-three pick. You can be sure they would like to “improve” those odds.
The Bulls didn’t go the full Mark Cuban and tell everyone tanking would be good for them, but their front office did say at the All-Star break they had instructed coach Fred Hoiberg to prioritize playing the young guys.