NBA fines Nets $100,000 for violating player participation policy by resting players

Brooklyn Nets center Day'Ron Sharpe (20) shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)


AP Basketball Writer

The NBA fined the Brooklyn Nets $100,000 on Thursday, marking the first time a team was sanctioned for violating the league’s player participation policy that went into effect this season.

The Nets held four rotation players — starters Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton and Cam Johnson, along with key reserve Dorian Finney-Smith — out of what became a 144-122 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 27. And three of the players that Brooklyn did start that night logged 12 minutes or less.

“Following an investigation, including review by an independent physician, the NBA determined that four Nets rotation players, who did not participate in the game, could have played under the medical standard in the Player Participation Policy, which was adopted prior to this season,” the league said. “The organization’s conduct violated the Policy, which is intended to promote player participation in the NBA’s 82-game season.”

After that game against the Bucks, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn insisted that the team did not treat the game as if it was a meaningless preseason contest. It was the second night of a back-to-back for Brooklyn and Vaughn said he didn’t want to put any player “in harm’s way.”

“I have too much respect for the dudes that suit up and put their body on the line and the competition level to even mention the word exhibition,” Vaughn said that night.

The league’s board of governors approved the new policy — which the NBA says was put together out of “consideration for the interests of fans, integrity of the game, player health, competitive fairness among teams, and transparency” — in September. Teams can be fined $100,000 for the first violation, $250,000 for the second and then an additional $1 million gets tacked on for all subsequent violations.