New Rule Will Set Minimum Games Played For MVP & Other NBA Awards

As the NBA and its players association get closer to a collective bargaining agreement, one of the big new rules about to be incorporated is one that takes a direct hit at "load management": A minimum number of games played in order to qualify for major awards, like MVP.

Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that "the two sides are getting closer to agreeing on a stipulation that a player must play in a minimum number of regular season games to be eligible for major awards.

The NBA wants to ensure that its best players are playing more games, and the recent proliferation of load management has seen many star players sitting out more and more games, disappointing fans who pay exorbitant prices to watch those players. 

The actual number of games is still up for debate. There is already a current rule in effect that a player has to play 58 games to qualify for the scoring title. A number that low, however, wouldn't seem to take a big enough hit at the issue. 

Kawhi Leonard, for instance, who is as much the face of 'load management' as anyone, played 65 games for the Toronto Raptors in his infamous load management season in 2019, before going on an epic playoff run helping Toronto to win the NBA championship.  

Sources tell Charania that it was the NBPA that approached the league with the idea of a minimum games stipulation. The players say that teams are often the ones who sit players out to try to "preserve them" for a later part of the schedule and playoffs. 

The two sides have until March 31st to finalize a new CBA, or to exercise their mutual opt-out of the current agreement (or to extend the deadline once again.)

Photo: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports