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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 29, 2017 1:00 am

NBA

New rules on tanking, player rest

Associated Press

NBA owners passed rules Thursday designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing games on purpose to improve their draft position.

Under the new draft lottery rules, the teams with the three worst records will all have 14 percent odds to land the No. 1 pick when the changes are implemented with the 2019 draft.

The team with the worst record previously had 25 percent odds to win the lottery and could fall to the No. 4 spot in the draft. Now that team can tumble all the way to fifth.

The lottery changes were to discourage tanking, the practice of losing games on purpose in an effort to improve draft odds. The Philadelphia 76ers relied on the tactic heavily in recent years and the league felt it needed to step in.

“These changes were necessary to improve the competitive incentives for our teams,” NBA President of Operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.

Also Thursday, the Board of Governors voted to allow Commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams who violate the league's new guidelines about resting players. Teams can't sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.

The rules also say that unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.

James hurts ankle

LeBron James turned his left ankle during practice Wednesday night, his first workout with newly signed teammate Dwyane Wade.

A Cavaliers spokesman said James had X-rays, which were negative. The three-time NBA champion didn't practice Thursday so he could undergo treatment.

The severity of James' injury is not known.

Last stop, Miami

Dwyane Wade cannot be clearer about this: He wants to wear a Miami Heat uniform again.

Someday.

After signing his one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade – speaking from his new locker room – told The Associated Press that Miami is “always in my heart” and that he took a serious look at whether this was the right time to return to the franchise where he spent his first 13 NBA seasons.

“Miami, the door's always unlocked,” Wade told AP. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don't know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure than when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is on. Whether it's being back there or signing a one-day deal like Paul Pierce, I want to make sure that I go out the way I came in.”

Brothers on trial

Jurors were expected to hear closing arguments Thursday for the assault trial of NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris. The Morris brothers are accused of helping three other people beat Erik Hood on Jan. 24, 2015. Hood testified last week his relationship with the twins became strained because of a misinterpreted text message. The Morris brothers face the possibility of prison time and discipline from the NBA if convicted.