Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said that he wouldn’t play Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, or Kevin Love versus the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night because he felt resting them was a good course of action. By resting Irving, James, and Love, the Cavs played without three starters, but more notably, their big three.
This is something the NBA has seen before. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested his big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker at times, and many teams with a number of superstars have as well.
Was a day off for rest the real reasoning for Lue’s decision? Only Lue can answer that, but something that NBA coaches and teams don’t take into consideration with decisions like this is the perspective of fans.
The NBA is a business and a product of entertainment; teams want to make money and win simultaneously. While the Cavaliers will tell you that resting the big three is purely strategic, and a course of action done to help keep their top guns’ legs fresh, one must consider it from the fan’s perspective.
The Fan Aspect in Terms of Money
Is the NBA fan playing the game? No, but without them there is no game, and that goes for any sport. These fans spend some nice coin to come to the arena every night and cheer for their team, but they also come to the arena to see the talent on the opposing team. The Cavaliers are a perfect example.
The Cavs have the best big three in the NBA at their disposal with Irving, James, and Love; when this team goes on the road into opposing arenas and cities, fans come to the arena to watch them, LeBron James especially. They have to pay up though. Whether it’s a big market like New York or Los Angeles, or even a smaller market such as Phoenix or Utah, tickets to an NBA game cost a hefty sum; an NBA ticket isn’t like lunch money. When fans pay for their tickets and walk through the turnstiles they’re looking to watch not only a great game, but also great talent. What Tyronn Lue did deprives fans from that experience, and it basically puts their money to waste.
Is it still an NBA game with NBA players? Yes, but it’s not like every game costs the same amount of money as the one before or after it. For example, if the Golden State Warriors play in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, a ticket in the upper level could cost in excess of $380; but, if the Utah Jazz come to town, that same seat could cost nearly $200 dollars. See the problem here? When coaches rest their star players on the road, they’re making the fans pay extra money to not see superstars they’re paying to see. To be injured is one thing, but if the reasoning for a player to not be dressed is of little reasoning, or just plain old rest, you’re leaving a weird taste in fans’ mouths, and you’re cheating them.
Only a select few become rich millionaires and even billionaires. When coaches, players, or even executives – who happen to be very wealthy for the most part – say that a decision like this is for the team, they’re not thinking about the fan’s point of view. They’re putting the fan’s money and tickets to waste. Fans aren’t all millionaires, and investing in an NBA game, or any professional sporting event is a very pricy investment on their part. When you make premature, unnecessary decisions like this, you’re being selfish.
Darren Rovell of ESPN tweeted this photo last night, showing the displeasure of fans who watched a game between the Cavaliers and Grizzlies that did not feature LeBron James.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 15, 2016
Resting Stars for Few Reasons is Selfish and Inconsiderate
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue’s decision to rest his big three on Wednesday was one that creates controversy. On one hand, he made a move that he thinks helps his team; however, the flip side of his decision is that he has put thousands of fan spent money to waste. Fans pay big bucks to see superstars like Irving, James, and Love play, and when you rest them for small, unnecessary reasons it’s selfish and inconsiderate to the NBA fan because without them there is no game.