NBA fines Timberwolves $25K for resting Russell

Photo by Reuters - Scanpix

The NBA awarded the first penalty for resting a healthy player. Back in November 2017, the National Basketball Association (NBA) introduced rules for skipping healthy players. However, the first fine for such an infringement was imposed only now, almost two and a half years later.

The $ 25.000 will have to be paid by the Minnesota Timberwolves that D’Angelo Russell was not registered against the Denver Nuggets.

According to league rules, teams are not advised to rest their leaders during outings and nationally broadcast matches. The circumstances coincided with the fact that the match in Denver was aired on NBA TV, causing the Timberwolves to pull off a league foul.

The Minnesota club agreed the rules were broken, but it also had its own position. “We are a player-focused organization that takes care of the best knowledge of basketball bodies. D’Angelo is a new person in our program, so we have been relaxing in a challenging match and travel marathon to better understand his body and optimize his health,” the club announced.

For Russell, the match against the Nuggets would have been just the fourth time with the Timberwolves’ shirt. Until then, he had spent the season with the San Francisco Golden State Warriors, but was traded.

 The league has previously punished teams for similar misconduct, but this particular rule was applied for the first time. The Los Angeles Clippers were fined $ 50.000 at the start of the season, but not because of Kawhi Leonard’s rest, but because of different statements made by club and strategist Doc Rivers about his health.

In 2012, the San Antonio Spurs were fined as much as $ 250.000 after playing against LeBron James’ Miami Heat club, not using all-star Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Emanuel Ginobili and Danny Green. This situation was one of the pretexts for the introduction of the new rule.

Minnesota acquired guard Russell, 23, from the Golden State Warriors in a trade in early February that included forward Andrew Wiggins. He has started all five games he has played for the Timberwolves, averaging 24.4 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.