How does the NBA’s rule change affect the Cavaliers?

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Going into the 2023-24 campaign, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the makings of one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. Cleveland racked up 51 wins in the 2022-23 regular season, en route to securing home court advantage in the 2023 Playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers did not have much success in the postseason, as they fell in just five games to the New York Knicks. It was a disappointing end to what was a nice follow-up to Cleveland making the Play-In Tournament, but it was also a positive seeing Cleveland back in the playoffs.

Following last year, the Cavaliers, to their credit, did have a productive offseason, in which they addressed their shooting woes. Cleveland should be better off, with bringing in players such as Max Strus, Georges Niang and Ty Jerome, and the recent Tristan Thompson move was a sensible decision.

Generally, this next year, the Wine and Gold should be competing for a title, with guys such as Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley in line for a big year.

Recently, though, an announcement from the NBA was one that could have real bearing on where teams like the Cavs could end up in the playoffs. It was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium that the NBA will not allow teams to sit/rest multiple stars in the same game in the regular season, with a star being defined as making an All-Star appearance or All-NBA in the past three seasons.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported how teams will face steep fines if found in violation of these rules to limit load management.

Bobby Marks of ESPN also reported how even with teams understanding stars must be on the floor for the league, teams will have their concerns, and essentially even more so when it relates to soreness for players. Teams have long emphasized being proactive in preventing serious injuries, and as Marks’ report also hit on, if violations occur, teams, not players, would be fined, given that wasn’t something collectively bargained.

But it’s evident Adam Silver and the NBA’s league office want stars on the floor when healthy, for the fan element and regular season viewership. These new rules further substantiate that.

So how does this NBA rule change affect the Cavaliers?

For a team like the Cavaliers, this rule change should not be too difficult for them to manage, at least one wouldn’t think. This Cavs squad is still a fairly young group, and the players this rule change applies to are all 27 or younger.

Those players will include Mitchell, Garland and Allen, players who are 27, and set to turn 24 and 25 during this coming season. Factoring in them here, those are players who are at or seemingly just entering their prime, or maybe not even quite their yet in Garland’s case.

Point being, this rule change should not be too detrimental for a team like the Cavs, whereas it could be more so for a club with older core guys, such as the Milwaukee Bucks. The same could apply for the Miami Heat or Philadelphia 76ers, though we’ll have to see what transpires involving a potential Damian Lillard to Miami deal and/or James Harden being traded from Philly, in that sense.

Teams out West such as the LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, all with older stars with injury histories, could be other teams affected immensely by this new NBA rule change as well, as many have pointed out.

Circling back, however, from a Cavs’ standpoint in this case, from the Wine and Gold perspective, this is not a rule change that should impact them as much as some other clubs. With most of Cleveland’s core and key rotational guys being on the younger side, they should seemingly be less likely to be a team that’s worn down over the long haul of the regular season from these sort of participation rules.

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Regardless, one would imagine this could definitely have a lasting impact on the NBA Playoffs going forward.