Taking Issue With the Grind of the N.B.A. Season

Michele Roberts, the leader of the league’s players union, addressed quality-of-life issues that affect players with strong opinions that prompted a response from Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner.

Comments: 75

  1. Adam Silver, who works for casino owners, who also happen to also own NBA teams, has taken whatever prestige he imagined himself having (representing a monopoly) and thrown it out the window with several absurd positions in just a few days, including his support for sports gambling apps on phones.

  2. It's about time that someone inside this cartel said something. My hair is on fire over this situation. With ALL of the pro sports cartels and the rigging of the football championship. Of course it's the players, not the owners. But the owners are the same as the potentates who control the price of gasoline or the cost of medical care. The owners control who plays where (teams) and where they DO NOT play. Good for Michele.

  3. Here's hoping Ms. Roberts prevails. There is an easy answer to this madness. The NBA should have a 50 game schedule that begins in February. The teams should play three nights a week, Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays, with the 30 games made up by an expanded playoffs that allows the top ten teams in each conference into an expanded playoff format. There are way too many meaningless games in the NBA. Sure the big three in Cleveland are playing, but we all know the games don't count until April and we all know it. Only greed and a total lack of empathy force all these meaningless games on the fans and players and the sooner it stops, the better.

  4. The sooner we realize that the NBA, and all the rest of the professional sports, is a business and not a sport, then we can all get along and keep paying $15.00/beer and $10.00 for a stale hotdog.

  5. The game is about the players but they are making good money to play. How about the paying fans not show up when the stars are not playing? Do that enough times and the league and coaches will get the message.

  6. A player's league would be fun to watch, as they sink like stones having no clue how to run a business. Players are part of the talent, and in many ways the most replaceable - there are always more ballplayers. But marketers, recruiters, tax advisors, capital market experts...there and their ilk are also talent, and just as responsible for the millions of dollars even the scrubs make. Michelle Roberts is smarter than that, and she's probably just posturing, but it would be fun to watch.

  7. Steve, there are about 360 to 450 players in the NBA, while there are about 400 people who will graduate from Harvard Business School this year with an MBA degree. The "srcubs" in the NBA are still elite basketball payers who have survived a brutal elimination process. High school senior players eventually drafted by an NBA team: About three in 10,000, or 0.03 percent. That's roughly the chance of getting four of a kind in the first round of draw poker.

    Running a business in the NBA depends on getting the right players to win basketball games. You may have the best tax adviser in the wold, but a losing team may not draw fans. For every "scrub" in the NBA there are thousands of educated and smart business people who would like his business. And a lot of those educated and smart business people are either unemployed or under employed.

  8. Oh come on, most owners dont run the team at all and being succesfull at one type of business doesnt mean you know anything about running a pro sports team, we can all cite the examples of bad owners or have you forgotten the 3 decade nightmare called the Clippers already?

    Sterling? The Maloofs? NY's finest, Dolan? Yeah, they know how to run a business, huh.

  9. The #1 thing the NBA could do to improve its product is shorten the season. An 82-game regular season is not good for the players' health, and it's not conducive to sustaining the fans' interest. The 82-game season was introduced at a time when the game was not nearly so physical and demanding as it is today, the playoffs didn't run so long, the spectator sports landscape was far less crowded, and professional players didn't have the opportunity to play international hoops.

    To my mind, the sweet spot would be 65 games.

    LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki, two champions and superstars whose dedication to the sport can hardly be questioned, have both spoken out in favor of a shorter season. I give credit to Michele Roberts for grabbing on to the idea. I give credit to Adam Silver for having an agile enough mind to eventually entertain it.

    And to the owners who might have difficulty buying into the concept of less is more, well, hasn't the whole 21st century been an ongoing lesson in the financial limitations of more is more?

  10. What's the big deal? They only exert themselves the last three minutes of each game.

  11. Who does she think is paying the players salaries? It's not the owners, it's the fans. And every multi-million dollar increase they squeeze out of their contracts gets paid for with increased ticket prices and higher cable fees. So, instead of trying to play a game with the owners, why doesn't she trying to play a game with an empty stadium and no tv broadcast.

  12. No one forces fans to buy tickets or pay cable bills. And the ticket prices in a city like New York are so high that the Knicks sell plenty of season tickets to corporations. Most fans dislike players due to their high salaries which they feel are unjustified, but most of the revenue from fans go to the owners who are often billionaires.

  13. the owners are usually avidly free enterprise, but they seem to become godless socialists when it suits them. is there proof nba players are the highest paid. be interesting to see how some of the top soccer leagues compare....

  14. Soccer has the highest average team salary, but the NBA has the highest average league-wide salary.

    [[NBA Tops All Sports Leagues With Highest Average Salary For Players

    Manchester City is the highest-paid team in the world as their players have an average annual salary of $8.1 million. But if we look at all the teams, basketball players in the NBA have the largest average salary of any league in the world. The average NBA player made $4.5 million last year, slightly better than the average salary for players in India's top cricket league, the Indian Premier League.]]


  15. thanks. perhaps the median instead of average would be more accurate. I live down the street from a billionaire. i'm not. if we averaged our combined wealth it'd be an incredibly impressive amount but......

  16. First of all, learn to embrace proper grammar and punctuation.

    You're on the NYT web site...act accordingly.

    Second, you got your proof that NBA players are the highest paid. Now, be silent. Everyone on every team everywhere makes more money than do you.

  17. If resting players works (leads to more wins) than I don't see the issue. It seems like a common sense approach. We all get burned out from time to time.

  18. The owners bribe the cities and hence the taxpayers to build them arenas and they can leave (Seattle, Oakland, New York in New Jersey, etc.) The Sonics left Seattle high and dry and went to OK. The Nets left NJ and went to Brooklyn. The Meadowlands, with bonds to be paid off by the taxpayers had the Giants (football) and the Nets leave. Oakland is seeing the Warriors go to the San Jose area with the SF 49ers. The Spurs left the Alamo Dome to more to more nicer(?) digs in San Antonio and the Alamo Dome must be paid for by the taxpayer. Sacramento must pay the freight on a new arena or the Kings will leave. And so on!

  19. No, the owners AND the leagues fleece the cities, and hence the taxpayers.

    The large majority of independent research indicates that building sporting arenas for professional teams is a money losing venture for a municipality.

    There are a number of good books and blogs on the subject matter. Start with "Field of Schemes" and go from there.

  20. 60% percent of the players are bankrupt within five years. Roberts will be humbled sooner rather than later.

  21. That's quite the random statistic you throw out there. Do you have anything to support your claim? Always willing to learn.

  22. How could anyone in her right mind feel sympathetic with these gazillionaires. They should try working at a rel job for a few weeks.

  23. You should try working as a professional athlete for a few weeks. It's not all the fun and glamour you seem to think it's cracked up to be.

  24. Perry, you're missing the point. Any "worker", you, me or LeBron, should receive compensation to the full value of what your "worth" is to your employer. Be it $20 an hour or $250,000 per game, people should receive in compensation what the market dictates. If fans deem NBA salaries too much, we won't go to games or watch on TV. An analogy: someone in your place of business saying "Hey, Perry makes too much money for what he does." Do you see the parallel?

  25. This season load is ridiculous and inhumane. Do we really want to permanently cripple a talent like Derrick Rose just to fill his owner's coffers? Lets get back to quality b-ball, not quantity. Greed sucks and diminishes us all.

  26. I think Rose - who "tweaked" a hamstring, after spraining his ankles, after ripping up his right knee, after ripping up his left knee - should have stayed in college for more than one year. Now he's just injury-prone, like a lot of point guards with a high-flying game. Ironically enough, I think his bulked up frame (acquired during two seasons off) will cause him more harm because it puts more strain on his joints.

  27. inhumane? really? these guys make multiple millions of dollars per year. c'mon.

  28. "Inhumane"? Really??

  29. If the players offer a pay cut to do this it should be viable. Something to address the revenue loss. Otherwise, despite all the sense it makes, they are trying to have it both ways.

  30. Unaddressed in this article is the reality that so many teams make the playoffs that the playoffs themselves constitute a second season, artificially increasing an already long grind and making it even more arduous. Resting players makes sense under such conditions for two reasons. First you want them physically able to play at the end of such a long grind and second with so many teams making the playoffs it takes less effort by talented teams to even make the playoffs.

    The NBA season has become such a joke that I don't even bother to watch until playoff time, that "season" is long enough and competitive enough for me but "regular" season has long since ceased be really competitive, especially among the second tier teams who have a hard time breaking into the elite ranks of those who get to the last few rounds of playoff basketball.

  31. Basketball and baseball seasons are way too long.
    Borringly long.

    Less games = more rest = better, more energetic play = exciting viewing.

    But it also means less ticket revenue and food sales over the course of the season which means salaries should be reduced.
    An NBA player making 15-20% less wouldn't hurt them at all.
    And they'd feel better about their game.

  32. Why is it written that, "Popovich is exploiting an ambiguity" rather than utilizing an ambiguity ? The former construction is clearly negative, while the latter would be neutral. After all, this is an article, not a column or an Op-Ed piece.

  33. How come the Sixers are allowed to rest for the entire season? That would seem a bigger problem for the league.

  34. Brutal, hilarious, and true.

  35. Just make the regular season an NCAA-style single elimination tournament and get it over with quickly. I'm tired of watching billionaires' millionaires' throw balls into baskets.

  36. I'm sorry, is someone making you watch these games? Are you being held hostage by a maniacal NBA fan?

  37. Then don't watch...

  38. I actually don't watch. I should have said we should all be tired of watching billionaires' millionaires' throw balls into baskets.

  39. You have got to be kidding me. The women of the WNBA play a grueling, compressed schedule, from May to August that sometimes requires that they play 2-3 games in a little more than a week. All for a minuscule percentage of what the male players earn.

  40. In a free market , the WNBA players earnings depends on revenue ( mainly ticket sales & TV fees) & their contracts. The fact that the revenue is low is not gender discrimination , but low value of product ( compare to female tennis players product's value). I would suggest better marketing to maximize revenue potential.
    That their schedule is compressed & grueling could be remedied by better union representation.

  41. What is your point? In the NBA teams will have stretches during the season when they play 4 games in 5 days. By my calculations that is a bit more strenuous than "2-3 games in a little more than a week." In addition, the NBA generates much more revenue than the WNBA. I am not sure the WNBA would even survive without the patience and financial resources of the NBA.

  42. John Havlicek, Dave Debusshere, Bill Bradley, Willis Reed, Wilt Chamerlin, never needed a day off. Must be the grueling scholastic college work they did before they joined the NBA.

  43. If Ms. Roberts intends to make an issue of the existence of the salary cap in the upcoming negotiations, I fear that fans could be looking at a prolonged lockout.

    The salary cap has brought stability and competitive balance to the sport - and thus helped make just about everyone associated with the NBA more money. While selected players might, on paper, receive higher salaries without some version of the cap being in place, it is equally possible that fan interest would diminish in many cities if their ownership were either unable or unwilling to keep up with the likely escalation in salaries; and with this likely loss of fan interest would come a reduction in earning power for players - because for these entertainers to have any box office clout whatsoever, fans first have to care.

    Moreover, the average NBA superstar makes considerably more money per game than his MLB equivalent. And while MLB does not currently have either a hard or soft salary cap in place (only a luxury tax), it also enjoys much deeper roots within the American psyche. In comparison, it wasn't that long ago (the Larry O'Brien era) that the NBA was a league on the verge of irrelevancy.

    As to the notion that the grind of the current NBA season has become too much for the players, I suggest each of them try working an unglamorous 9-5 job - especially one suited to most current players appalling level of educational and intellectual achievement. They would soon learn what a grind is and isn't.

  44. Well, duh. The season is too long! Sure guys can do it, but why not make it a little less onerous? The body needs rest- thats how you feel good and help to prevent injury Good for Pop and Michele Roberts. Such an irony when I think to how much Shaq was dogged by the press for missing games because of injuries. How ridiculous is that- 3 guys climbing on him in Haq-aShaq every freakin game he played in his prime...... NBA players need a shorter season and more rest, people!!!

  45. There can be one and only one rea$on for there being $o many game$ in the NBA $ea$on. It sure isn't to offer the public 1230 exciting and meaningful games, and then more in the playoff season. The whole thing needs reinventing. At lease it's not yet as saturated with violence and militarism as professional football is.

  46. If the current problems of the N.B.A. have anything to do with their sorry treatment of Donald Sterling, I"m glad of it.

  47. i have no problem with teams resting players, as the season is indeed far too long. but the NBA is also entertainment, and is popovitch is gong to rest his players, it would be better if he didn't do it in a nationally televised game, and especially not in a game as important as the regular season rematch against the heat last year, that's just a big disappointment for the millions of fans watching, and is, quite honestly, an embarassment for the league.

  48. I don't know if the regular season is to long, but the playoffs sure are. The first round should go back to best of 5 games instead of 7. Also the time between playoff games is to long. Although it does give the players time to rest, it has gotten ridiculous. To the person who wrote too many games are meaningless, that's true, But that's because all the best players are on about maybe 15 teams out of 30. Not due to player fatigue.
    I think Greg Popovich is one of the best coaches, and I agreed with him resting his star players at the end of the season. But I thought him resting them against Houston, one of San Antonio's main challengers to the throne this year, in the first week of the season was much too soon. That would have been a great game.
    It also seems to me that to many players are getting injured, and to soon in the season, Esp compared to say the Jordon Era. I think this is due to lack of discipline, preseason training and just keeping ones self in top condition.
    When I was younger and played playground ball, we played everyday, sometimes 6 full court games each time. Spring till late Fall, no one really got tired and we couldn't wait to play the next day. I know its a far cry from the NBA, although where I played there were pros, college players and once in awhile an NBA player would come down. So is the season to long, maybe. But these athletes have the best trainers, facilities, doctors and support staff In the world. So they should be able to deal with it.

  49. I'll play devil's advocate. If you want a home and home with every team in the other conference -- and I do -- that's 30 games. If you want 4 games with your division rivals -- and I do -- that's 16 games. If you want 3 games with each of the best teams in your conference -- and I do -- you have to schedule 3 with all the rest, too -- that's 30 games. So 76 is my minimum.

    As for the fatigue issue, I don't much buy it. The biggest variation of intensity is between the regular season and the playoffs. It's a motivation issue. And it's almost all about defense. The injuries? I think the players are doing things requiring speed and agility that make them the basketball equivalent of fastball pitchers who are injuries waiting to happen on any given night.

    I've been following the NBA for 50 years and I've never stopped being amazed at what these guys can do. I will never understand how anyone can have a vertical leap of 40', throw a blind bounce pass through a defender's legs, miss one corner three a month, and score at a rate approaching 50% with 24 seconds to go end to end. Still, there's one thing that has to change. In most years, there are no surprises in the playoffs. As much as I enjoy seeing real defense, I'd go to 5 game series, maybe right up to the championship. The NBA is in bad need of a Cinderella who gets to go to the dance.

  50. Sport seasons - NBA, MLB, NHL - are too long because a saturated market inhibits the formation of a rival league.

  51. [[Perhaps, on the day of the game, disappointed Spurs fans will learn that Cleveland’s Big 3 will not play.]]

    The solution is to watch from a bar or from home and, if you're not getting the players you expected, change the channel.

  52. Anyone who has attended an NBA game in the 15 years knows that for three quarters it's a glorified scrimmage. As the end of the game draws near, and if either team has a chance to win, the intensity of play increases. So let's not overdo the concern for the physical toll applied to the players. The most taxing element is the travel because you're jumping from city to city without a chance to take a breath. Baseball at least allows the players to camp out in a city for a few days.

    If anybody doubts this, compare the intensity of a regular season vs. a playoff game. The difference is startling.

  53. Now, as I remember it, they played 82 games back in the 60's and forward. What I can't remember is about the back-to-back games. Sometimes now, a team won't play for 4 or 5 days, and they play a a back-to-back. This makes no sense. Keep the season, just avoid the back to back games as much as possible.

  54. The media likes to fawn over Jackson and Auerbach's rings, but Popovich is not just one of the game's great coaches. He may also be the league leader in integrity, which, given the corrupting circumstances of professional sports and the regulations'-be-damned attitude of most team owners, is saying quite a lot.

  55. The players have many options in addressing the issue. Of course, as in all lines of work, if the physical (or mental) stress is to much, they can opt of their contracts and seek another line of work. Or, if they want to work less, then they can re-negotiate their contract accordingly ($80 000 less for every game they skip). These are choices that we all must make, on a day to day basis, in navigating through our careers.

  56. Eighty Two games followed by weeks of playoffs is too much. I'm not just thinking of the players, but of the fans too. For those of us who love all sports there is something special about the 'focused conflict' between well-rested teams, which is what gives soccer, rugby, and american football games a meaningful edge, even early in the season.
    Baseball should trim down to 150 games; Hockey needs to go back to 66 or 72 games; And the NBA would be better off if it limited its season to 70 games.
    Consider an elegant and well trotted solution (in baseball): why not focus NBA games on a wednesday thru sunday schedule and make those long road trips worthwhile by having teams play each other two days in a row?
    It never made sense to me why they don't have two or three game series in the NBA or NHL. It would make game life a bit easier for the players and probably save teams a considerable amount of money in travel expense.

  57. Roberts is right: the season is too long. I'm a Spurs fan, but I don't like when Popovich rests his stars. People pay lots of money for those tickets, and they should see the players they are paying for. The solution is a shorter season.

    And Roberts is right about the players being the attraction, not the owners. Unfortunately, as the last lockout showed, many players live essentially paycheck to paycheck, and have no real ability to force the owners to cut them a bigger slice of the pie. Instead, the owners forced a big increase in their own slice.

    The season should be shorter, and the players should receive more of the revenue.

  58. Really? Talk to any professional tennis player. You don't hear them whining about the grinding tennis season. And they are certainly on a tennis court longer than any basketball player. Remember the Nadal/Djokovic Australian Open final? Those two men were on a tennis court for over 6 hours.

  59. Yes the players are the game and yes they do deserve a part of the profits...but we still live in a capitalist country and they have invested the money and should benefit from the risk that they took...Ms. Roberts is trying to make a splash...a lockout will scare away crowds and make the brand a bit "soiled"...the cost of going to a game is prohibitive as it is---this would be another millionaires vs billionaires argument...not a good pr moment.

  60. there's nothing unethical about resting older players in a season that is way too long and arduous. (the heat rested wade last year a ton, too.) the issue is whether the fans' lust for being entertained trumps the their wish for the well-being of the players and the playoff success of the team in question.

    i have long thought that the season is way too long, that not only are there too many teams ( a major contributing factor to the dilution of talent that is quite clear), but that the playoff format rewards mediocrity based on the talent dilution by still allowing half the teams in. during the knicks championship era there were 16-17 teams and only three rounds of playoffs. yes half the teams made it in but the talent concentration was higher than today, with better seasoned players.

    ideally the season should be shortened to around 65 games, and the league reduced to 24 teams from the ungodly 30 teams we have now. in basketball's heyday in the 80s there were 23-24 teams.

  61. Pop is simply taking an intelligent approach as a manager. As far as playing within the guidelines of the rules, I imagine the past and present NBA commissioner happily embrace advantageous income tax strategies created by their accountants.

  62. I like to go to a couple of games per season, but I'm reluctant to shell out the huge $ for the marquee teams precisely because I don't know if those players will suit up. Injuries are unavoidable of course, but resting players when fans pay hard earned money for tickets is unconscionable in my opinion. And I've voted with my wallet on this matter.

  63. Does anyone know what percentage of the NBA's gross profits are from the play-offs versus the regular season?
    I ask because the regular season barely reaches the level of interest of the first round of the World Cup! The regular season runs from October to almost the end of April; seven months is way too long folks.
    Most folks watch a handful of the 'regular' season's games to see how one or two marquee players rise above the rest of those on the court. You rarely see 'team-play' until the play-offs. The same could be said for college basketball with the regular season versus March Madness.

  64. The most feasible approach is to shorten the game itself, an idea the NBA experimented with in the pre-season. This would reduce the wear-and-tear grind on players' bodies without affecting the underlying economics of the industry. It would also increase the competitive drama over the course of an entire game, rather than just the last few minutes.

  65. As in the NFL, everything is getting to be too much in the NBA: the $10-15 million paid to middling players; the soaring ticket prices and stampede of season-ticket holders for the hot teams; the number of games in both the regular season and the playoffs (bring the former down to 72 and shorten the latter to best of five, leaving the finals at best of seven). The NBA should also consider enlarging the court - say, 15 feet wider and longer - to encourage better, more interesting defense and reduce collisions. And how about getting tougher on flagrant fouls - say, three to five-game suspensions?

  66. Crocodile tears and a croc. They are over-paid millions for playing a game, are over-valued -- as are all professional athletes -- and they all want to be exactly where they are and doing exactly what they do. Or they can try earning a living in the real world, a much diminished living like those earned by the vast majority of their fans, who get paid in a year what most in the NBA get paid for one day's work.

  67. Holy pick-and-roll Batman!

    Gregg Popovich has managed to destroy the NBA !!!!

    As Pop has previously noted, some people just don't have a very high basketball IQ. Rest assured that over the course of the past 17 years the San Antonio Spurs have taken full advantage of that fact.

    Go Spur Go !!!

  68. Love the Spurs.

    But, they are not a fan favorite as evidenced by the team's merchandise sales (and even product/sku offerings), which lag well behind the teams with anointed super stars and thugs.

  69. Don't think any players are going hungry because they could have made another $8 million over 4 years if there was no salary cap. The compensation they receive makes it hard for most people to sympathize with them having to actually work hard for their salaries. Many people earning 1% of what they make work longer hours. If player fatigue is a real issue, then the solution is obvious -- increase the number of players on the team so the starters can have more rest. The owners can suck up and take the additional cost.

  70. Wait, this is a joke right? Hold on, the quality of life of NBA players is diminished by the amount of games a player plays on consecutive days and the length of the season? I get it, it's tough to enjoy your McMansion and your trophy wife when you only make millions of dollars a year to play for 35 minutes a night about three times a week and you come home exhausted from having thousands of idiots that just paid a weeks' salary for a crappy seat and 15 dollars for a Miller Light to cheer you on from the top of their pathetic little lungs. Hey, how about this? I can't dunk, and I'm under six feet tall but I got a decent jumper. Lets trade jobs. Come work at my job for about a hundred dollars a day, no groupies, and a basement office but at least you get ten vacation days and 6 sick days, Oh wait, you get month-MONTHS off for vacation every SUMMER. Ah, I see, you still have to peddle Nike gear and Coca Cola for pocket change. Life is Hard. Like Lebron said "the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today,” We're a bunch of suckers.

  71. Bill, I would not mind if the NBA season were reduced from 82 games to 72 or even 62 games.

    However, several stakeholders would not want this, e.g.:

    1. Players who make the NBA minimum or a near multiple. Salaries would be reduced by 1/82 for each game less than 82. Many of these players support extended families, babies and mothers. For the average player, losing that money would not be in their best interest. The minimum salary in the NBA is $507,336. The average NBA career is 3.5 years. If the NBA season were reduced by 10 games, players making the minimum would lose approximately $216,546 during a career. Many higher-paid players would lose multiples of that sum during a 3.5 year span - so for the average guy who cannot make that kind of money in a different occupation, what you're proposing is not in their best interest.

    LeBron et al not only have longer careers, but they also generate revenue with endorsements, commercials, etc. The average player will not want to forfeit that money.

    2. While the box office for many NBA teams generates millions, professional basketball is mainly a television program. ESPN, ABC, TBS and the NBA channel all need content. In addition, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and NBC sports stand eagerly in the wings. None of these very powerful entities would want a shorter season. There is only so much talk & debate, biographies and reality that these outlets can do. Television needs content.

  72. a guy making the minimum is still making half a million dollars a year to do essentially nothing! They are getting half a million dollars a year DESPITE the fact that they are actually not that good at their jobs. I have no sympathy. Extended families? they should have thought about contraception, or better yet, abstinence before having an extended family. I work 5 days a week for the whole year and I don't see the amount of money a minimum salaried players does by sitting on the bench or practicing every afternoon. (BTW, those minimum salaried players have 3.5 year careers in the NBA. but most them go overseas where they can make close to millions or more playing in Spain, France, Greece, Israel. and China.)

  73. Do you actually think owners would pay the same money to players for fewer games??? Do you really think the players would take a CUT IN THEIR PAYCHECKS for any reason???

  74. The author fails to explain the context of Gregg Popovich 'announcing that five Spurs would not play in Houston in a nationally televised game against the Rockets.' and that seems disingenuous.

    First, it was a the second game in as many nights and in the middle of a five games in seven nights stretch, which is the most grueling schedule stretch the league places on teams.

    Second, the author just plain leaves out that three of those five players that didn't play were injured and remain out of the lineup over a week later.

    Third, the other two just happen to be two of the six oldest players in the league and the only two their age that play as many minutes as they do. Tim Duncan, the oldest starter in the league who is the all-time leader in minutes played in the postseason and fifth among active players in the regular season, and Manu Ginobili, a brittle-at-best veteran, got the night off.

    As for Blatt resting his guys in San Antonio, well, he’s already said he has LeBron on a maintenance plan and he will miss games during the season for rest. He’s sixteenth on the active minutes played list. That’s fine. The guys with all the miles need a little more rest.

  75. Teams that tank, like the Sixers, are a disgrace. But the Spurs have earned the right to play however they want.