LeBron James found out about the memo NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent to the owners of NBA teams in a group interview. LeBron seemed to take the news personally and make a claim that the NBA only had a problem with coaches resting players when he started doing it this season.
With all due respect to LeBron James, the NBA might not have a problem with the Spurs resting players because the Spurs tend to be competitive or even win games in which their top players rest.
The Spurs made resting players famous on November 29, 2012 when the team was on their final game of a six game road trip. On said road trip the Spurs were already without future All-Star Kawhi Leonard and former All-Star Stephen Jackson. Even shorthanded, the Spurs won their first five games of the road trip and facing the defending NBA champions for their sixth game in eight days the Spurs then sent home Tony Parker, Danny Green, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat had four days of rest before the game against the Spurs. The Spurs starting line up that night included Nando De Colo while Miami played their regular starting line up including LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Spurs almost won. The final score was 105-100.
Fast forward to modern day NBA: the league is in a much better state with a new TV contract signed just recently. Disney (ABC/ESPN) and Turner (TNT) paid a lot of money for the rights to national NBA broadcasts. Disney has been promoting their Saturday night headliners and they are exciting... On paper.
The last two weeks both the Warriors and Cavaliers have rested their star players on the ABC Saturday headliner. Both games were snoozers and over well before the 4th quarter. Essentially a showcase game has been reduced to a starless blow out and unimpressive wins for the Spurs and Clippers. These are supposed to be rare events in which we can figure out which team is better between the two.
The NBA is now an entertainment platform, not just a sport. When billions of dollars are pumped into a league there becomes a certain expectation that the players making millions of dollars out of that pie should promote the league as best they can. Bringing the owners in the discussion with the coaches on when to rest players is necessary when it appears that the level of competition will be affected, especially on a national stage.