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How NBA’s New “Load Management” Rules Impact Milwaukee

NBA teams can now be fined for not playing a “star player,” in five different scenarios

2023 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks

The reign of load management may be coming to an end. On Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA Board of Governors approved new rules looking to curtail teams from resting or “load managing” star-level players in a bunch of different circumstances.

The NBA defined a “star player,” as someone who has made the All-Star Team or All-NBA Team in the last three seasons. So for the Bucks, that would be Giannis Antetokounmpo (All-NBA and All-Star in 2021, 2022 and 2023), Khris Middleton (All-Star in 2022) and Jrue Holiday (All-Star in 2023).

The NBA could fine the Bucks for sitting one or multiple of these guys in the following scenarios:

1. If they rest a star player in a nationally-televised or an in-season tournament game.

2. If they rest more than one star in the same game.

3. If they rest a star in a road game instead of a home game (teams are obliged to maintain a balance between the two, preferring rest days to occur in home games).

4. If they shut down a healthy star for an extended period (such as in the wake of a trade demand, like Damian Lillard’s in Portland).

5. If a resting star is not on the bench and visible to fans

The fines will be no slap on the wrist either for multiple offenses. The first offense is $100k, the second at $250k, but the third offense jumps all the way to $1.25 million with each following offense increasing by $1 million. Just as a hypothetical example, Giannis missed 19 games this past season, and let’s say eight of those games fell into this criteria for violating the new league policy. In this scenario, the Bucks would be fined a total of $22.85 million dollars. Not a small amount in any regard for an NBA franchise.

It will be interesting to watch how the Bucks and the rest of the NBA will handle these new rules. I’m sure a team will find some workaround for this and eventually, the NBA will have to enact more rules to curtail whatever loophole may exist.