The National Basketball Association is making significant changes to criteria for award winners starting next season, which includes needing to play a minimum of 65 games to qualify for them, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday.
In the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and NBPA, there is a games played component for the NBA’s postseason awards, and players will now have to play in at least 65 games to qualify.
“There will be three exceptions,” wrote The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov on Apr. 7. “One for bad faith on the part of teams, an injury exception and one for unjust circumstances. Additionally, players must play at least 20 minutes in those games, with two games of 15 minutes allowed — so no one can pull a Giannis Antetokounmpo in the All-Star Game this season by starting and subbing out after a minute.”
Charania confirmed on Monday the full terms of the NBA’s 65-game minimum to be eligible for honors including Most Valuable Player, All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year, among others.
“Players must play 20 minutes in at least 65 games – with protections against season-ending injury (62 games), near misses in minutes (2 games at 15 min.), bad faith circumstances,” he wrote.
The ultimate goal is to get the league’s best players to play more often, which the NBA has been clear about over the last few years.
It’s a pushback against “load management,” which has become a serious issue in the league over the past few seasons, but will likely receive pushback from the players who usually want to play but are forced to sit at the behest of their teams, per Vorkunov.
The mechanism is clear, but it will be intriguing to see how it plays out in the National Basketball Association starting next season.
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