According to the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich rested core players three times last season as a way to keep them rested and healthy. When asked about it at a Board of Governor’s meeting in April, deputy commissioner Adam Silver addressed the issue and indicated that the league would not discipline teams for these sorts of practices.
“The strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams,” Silver said then. “And Gregg Popovich in particular is probably the last coach that I would second-guess.”
Stern fined the Lakers $25,000 in April of 1990 after coach Pat Riley rested Magic Johnson and James Worthy in a regular season finale against Portland. In 1985, then-vice president for NBA operations Rod Thorn fined the Lakers after Riley sat Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a regular season finale.