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How the NBA’s new player participation policy impacts LeBron James, Anthony Davis

The Lakers will be one of the many teams across the league impacted by the new player participation policy but also a number of potential exceptions apply as well.

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA officially adopted the new player participation policy (PPP) for the upcoming season, rules that are looking to heavily limit franchises resting star players. There are a lot of designations and clarifications that come into this, which were explained in detail by Bobby Marks of ESPN.

The short of it is that both LeBron James and Anthony Davis fall under the “star” designation by the league, but does that both won’t be able to rest in games this season?

Not exactly.

In Marks’ article, he also lays out a number of exceptions, some of those applying to the Lakers’ two stars.

One exception, for example, is for veteran players with heavy minutes on their legs with a small pool of players applying for it.

The NBA will allow pre-approved designated back-to-back allowances for players who are 35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined, sources said.

If a team feels that a star player is unable to play in back-to-back games, it must provide to the NBA written information at least one week prior explaining why the player’s participation should be limited.

This season, the players that will apply to include LeBron, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, and James Harden. It might mean the Lakers will have to forecast their planning this season a little bit more, but if it keeps the wear-and-tear on LeBron down and healthy for the playoffs, it’ll be better in the long run.

As it pertains to Davis, there is the possibility of him also sitting out back-to-backs with a different exception.

The league has also said that a team can seek approval for a star player to be unavailable for one end of a back-to-back based on the player’s prior or unusual injury history.

Last season, for example, Davis was not playing on the second night of back-to-backs after his foot injury earlier in the year. That would, theoretically, pertain here and could be a viable reason to rest him.

What won’t be happening, though, is both players sitting out the same game in a back-to-back. If Davis is sitting out the second night of back-to-backs this season, then LeBron has to sit out the first night. And even in that instance, if one of the games is a national television or in-season tournament game, that changes the calculus as well.

This is of greater concern for the Lakers, who have 15 back-to-backs this year, the most in the league. The distinction of if NBA TV is considered a “national” broadcast matters as the Lakers have five back-to-backs with one of the games being on NBA TV. Otherwise, they only have four back-to-backs in which neither game is on national TV.

It’s going to make things tricky for the Lakers to determine the risk-reward of potentially having LeBron and AD unavailable for both sides of a back-to-back. It might be played a bit more by ear as the season goes along, particularly with LeBron, but it’s going to be an issue the Lakers will have to adjust to this season almost certainly.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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