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The NBA And Players Are Finally Taking The Right Steps To Solve The League's Load Management Problem

Jesse D. Garrabrant. Getty Images.

(The Athletic) - The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are in advanced discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement and the two sides are getting closer to agreeing on a stipulation that a player must play in a minimum number of regular season games to be eligible for major awards, sources tell The Athletic.

Top league and players union officials held a Competition Committee meeting on Friday to discuss an issue both sides are jointly motivated on: star players playing in more games, and staying healthy enough so that the NBA can display its best talent on a night-to-night basis. Both sides are in agreement on tying major awards to games played over the course of the season, sources said, a possibility The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov first reported on Feb. 14.

According to sources with knowledge of both sides of the discussions, while both sides still need to come to an agreement on the number of games that players would need to play in order to qualify for awards, the two sides do agree on the concept. There’s already one precedent that the parties can point to, where a player must appear in at least 58 games to qualify for the league’s scoring title.

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Bravo! Bravo! 

Finally, the NBA and the players come up with something that I feel like should be universally supported. I don't care what Adam Silver tries to spinzone, the NBA has an issue when it comes to their best players actually being on the court over the course of an NBA season. I see both sides of the coin as to why teams and players do this given the RINNGGZZZZZ culture we live in, but that doesn't mean there isn't a heavy amount of bullshit involved. Fans don't get a refund if a star sits do they? I didn't think so.

The question then becomes how do you get these guys to actually suit up? While I think this is a problem that has no easy solution, the idea of tying a games played minimum to the major awards is a great place to start. As they say, the best ability is availability, and if this new plan helps the load management issue by even 10%, I'm all for it.

If a player is having an MVP caliber season and then gets hurt and misses too much time, that's just life. I say don't make the minimum anything crazy, maybe make it like 65 games or something. With most of this stuff, it's not really about the guys who get hurt, it's about the healthy scratches. At the same time, there are ways around this idea though which is why the details will have to be important. 

For example, let's say you wanted to give Player X a load management day, but he's in the MVP hunt. What's to stop you from starting that player, having him play 1 minute, and then immediately subbing him out and not playing him the rest of the way? Technically, he gets that games played number, but it's basically the same thing. You're telling me a team wouldn't do something like that? The team will just say "foot soreness" or some bullshit. I suppose that might have an impact on their per game averages which matters on some level, but I feel like that still has to be ironed out. You can't force a minimum number of minutes played in a game in order for that game to "count", so I'm interested to see if anything actually changes or if teams just get more creative when it comes to load management.

Overall though, it's hard to argue that this isn't a step in the right direction. As fans, we want to see the best players in the world actually play. I wouldn't even stop at the awards though, do this for All NBA too. Do it for All Defensive teams. To get recognized, you should have to play, period. In the end, that's only going to help the product given that the talent will actually be on the floor, and that benefits everybody.

Listen, it's been a while since we got news from something the league wants to change that actually makes sense. Lord knows what the hell Adam Silver does all day because he's blatantly ignoring some of the biggest issues in his league all so he can tweak the All Star Game or some shit. At least this is a step in the right direction to address a major issue. It's about damn time.