The NBA’s No. 1 Problem: Cavs sitting out Big 3
The Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to FedEx Forum in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies, but it wasn’t a memorable one for individuals who came to see the superstars of the world champions as LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving did not travel to the “Grindhouse”.
The NBA schedule is a grueling and unforgiving one, and this provides the biggest problem in basketball – scheduled rest for superstars who need to remain fresh for deep and punishing playoff runs. The Memphis faithful experienced that last night, as the big three from Cleveland wasn’t able to take to the floor.
Up to 18,119 people suffered in-person after not being able to see a James dunk, an Irving ankle breaker, or a Love outlet, but it’s a necessary and unfortunate reality NBA fans face year after year.
Obviously when the world champions enter the building, the price for NBA tickets increases, as everyone wants a piece of the action. But resting these players provides a genuine problem within the league due to fans believing they are being ripped off and short-changed.
“I’m super-reluctant to start telling these great coaches how they should manage minutes of players.’’
After the San Antonio Spurs made the scheduled rest famous, the entire association now takes time to rest their stars so they can perform at their maximum for longer and at a high level.
Regardless, Silver has faith in the teams and their players.
“I think it puts us in an untenable position to set rules that say you can’t rest a guy,” Silver said. “I think ultimately we have to rely on the good faith of our teams and our players as to what appropriate rest is.’’
If anyone deserves rest, it’s LeBron James, who has entered his 14th NBA season playing more minutes than anyone before him at the same stage in their careers. After making six straight NBA finals appearances and continuing to play heavy minutes, James’ rest is understandable.
Despite the outside noise, James says he doesn’t need to justify himself or his coaches decision to anyone.
“I do whatever my coach asks me to do,” James said. “My coach wants me to rest, I don’t buck my coach. That’s what he wants and that’s what we gonna do. I’ve been in this league 14 years. I shouldn’t have to explain me sitting out a game or not playing games.’’
James understands that he has more than delivered to every fan base in the NBA since entering the league.
“I’ve played in every arena, including Seattle that’s no longer here,’’ he said late after Tuesday’s win. “It’s not like it’s my first year. I’ve got 14 years. I’ve paid my dues and more than a lot of guys in this league. But I’ll ride with my coach.”
It may have been an upsetting night for Grizzlies fans, but the Cavaliers saw it as a necessary agenda in the hopes of defending their title come June.