Load Management Is, Well, A Load—At Least That Is What Wilt Chamberlain Would Say

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Somewhere in heaven, Wilt Chamberlain is shaking his head in disgust at Kawhi Leonard.

A national TV audience last night was deprived of seeing Leonard go up against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Bucks’ 129-124 victory over The Los Angeles Clippers because Doc Rivers decided to rest Kawhi for “load management.”

This has happened to national TV audiences twice in the past week.

Even worse, the NBA gave this move its blessing.

"Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers' injury report," spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

"The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine, is comfortable with [the] team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time."

Really?

Entering the preseason, Leonard said he felt much better than he did going into the previous season and that his load management would be different than it was in Toronto. Coach Doc Rivers insisted there is no reason to be concerned about Leonard's health.

"He feels great," Rivers said before the Clippers played the Bucks. "But he feels great because of what we've been doing. And we are just going to continue to do it. There's no concern here. But we want to make sure.

"I think Kawhi made the statement he's never felt better [entering camp]. It's our job to make sure he stays that way. And that's important. He played a lot of minutes in the playoffs last year. And it's not a health thing. Really it is, in some ways, we want him to just keep feeling better and getting better."

Now, consider Chamberlain.

In his 1992 book, "A View From Above," he said he was proudest of playing 3,882 minutes in the 1961-62 campaign. Including overtimes, that averages to 48.5 minutes per game. He missed only seven minutes over the entire 80-game season.

Even in his last three seasons — 1971 through 1973, when he was 34-36 — he averaged 44, 42 and 43 minutes a game.

Leonard is being paid $32.7 million to play basketball.

ESPN and Turner Sports are paying the NBA a combined $2.6 billion per season to televise games and entertain fans. Last night, that national TV audience did not get to see the reigning NBA Finals MVP.

David Stern never would have allowed this.

Adam Silver is OK with it.

Back when he was still the commissioner and Silver was the deputy, it was no secret within the NBA office politic circles that you were either considered a “Stern person or a “Silver person.”

Almost all of Stern’s people have left the NBA.

Silver’s people are aiding and abetting this injustice to basketball fans, and that is a shame.

Tonight, Kawhi was probably play as Los Angeles plays the second night of a TNT doubleheader against the Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. EST. A large portion of the East Coast will be asleep. Those of us in New York and elsewhere along the East Coast get to watch the Kemba Walker alumni game between the Celtics and Hornets, and nothing says “exciting Thursday night” like watching a Hornets game.

Memo to Silver: Spend the day reading up on Wilt, and knock off this load management acquiescence that is angering your fan base.

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Somewhere in heaven, Wilt Chamberlain is shaking his head in disgust at Kawhi Leonard.

A national TV audience last night was deprived of seeing Leonard go up against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Bucks’ 129-124 victory over The Los Angeles Clippers because Doc Rivers decided to rest Kawhi for “load management.”

This has happened to national TV audiences twice in the past week.

Even worse, the NBA gave this move its blessing.

"Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers' injury report," spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

"The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine, is comfortable with [the] team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time."

Really?

Entering the preseason, Leonard said he felt much better than he did going into the previous season and that his load management would be different than it was in Toronto. Coach Doc Rivers insisted there is no reason to be concerned about Leonard's health.

"He feels great," Rivers said before the Clippers played the Bucks. "But he feels great because of what we've been doing. And we are just going to continue to do it. There's no concern here. But we want to make sure.

"I think Kawhi made the statement he's never felt better [entering camp]. It's our job to make sure he stays that way. And that's important. He played a lot of minutes in the playoffs last year. And it's not a health thing. Really it is, in some ways, we want him to just keep feeling better and getting better."

Now, consider Chamberlain.

In his 1992 book, "A View From Above," he said he was proudest of playing 3,882 minutes in the 1961-62 campaign. Including overtimes, that averages to 48.5 minutes per game. He missed only seven minutes over the entire 80-game season.

Even in his last three seasons — 1971 through 1973, when he was 34-36 — he averaged 44, 42 and 43 minutes a game.

Leonard is being paid $32.7 million to play basketball.

ESPN and Turner Sports are paying the NBA a combined $2.6 billion per season to televise games and entertain fans. Last night, that national TV audience did not get to see the reigning NBA Finals MVP.

David Stern never would have allowed this.

Adam Silver is OK with it.

Back when he was still the commissioner and Silver was the deputy, it was no secret within the NBA office politic circles that you were either considered a “Stern person or a “Silver person.”

Almost all of Stern’s people have left the NBA.

Silver’s people are aiding and abetting this injustice to basketball fans, and that is a shame.

Tonight, Kawhi was probably play as Los Angeles plays the second night of a TNT doubleheader against the Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. EST. A large portion of the East Coast will be asleep. Those of us in New York and elsewhere along the East Coast get to watch the Kemba Walker alumni game between the Celtics and Hornets, and nothing says “exciting Thursday night” like watching a Hornets game.

Memo to Silver: Spend the day reading up on Wilt, and knock off this load management acquiescence that is angering your fan base.

I first covered an NBA game in 1992 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks, and things were different back in those days. Media members actually sat on pres...