Butler out against Minnesota thanks to a ‘loophole’ in NBA ‘anti-rest rules’

After playing against the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Butler did not take the NBA floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight in his team’s 90-106 defeat. The Miami Heat player rested despite not being eligible to do so thanks to a loophole in the new anti-rest system.

The NBA released a new player participation policy in September that discourages teams from resting stars in NBA games. The policy provides multiple reasons for organizations to allow their star players to miss some games. However, Jimmy Butler does not meet any of the criteria.

Only an actual injury, a pre-approved back-to-back restriction, actual personal reasons, rare and unusual circumstances, roster management or end-of-season flexibility allow starting players to miss games.

Jimmy Butler was not NBA eligible for the back-to-back restriction, but he did not play against the Timberwolves, despite being healthy. His absence is not on the approved list of reasons. So how did they keep him from playing without getting a fine? The Heat listed him as out for the game because of rest. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports that the Heat consulted the league on the matter and were given permission to make the move due to the fact that Butler played a nationally televised game the night before.

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Alessandro Saraceno
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