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NBA fines Nets $100K for violating new participation policy

By Jake Beardslee · January 4, 2024

In brief…

  • Four key Nets players were held out of a December 27 game against Milwaukee.
  • The league introduced the policy this season to ensure fair competition and protect game integrity.
  • Teams can be fined up to $100,000 for a first violation and $1 million for subsequent violations.
  • Brooklyn became the first team penalized under the new rule.
The NBA fined the Brooklyn Nets $100,000 on Thursday for violating the league's new player participation policy by sitting four healthy rotation players in a December game.  Erik Drost/Wikimedia

The NBA has fined the Brooklyn Nets $100,000 for violating the league’s new player participation policy during a December 27 game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The punishment marks the first time a team has been sanctioned under the rule, which was introduced this season to promote fair competition and protect player health, The Associated Press reported.

According to the NBA, the Nets held out four key rotation players - Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith - despite an independent physician determining they were healthy enough to play. The team started players who logged only 12 minutes or less, essentially treating the high-profile game like an exhibition contest.

“The organization’s conduct violated the policy, which is intended to promote player participation in the NBA’s 82-game season,” the league said in a statement Thursday.

After the December game, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn had defended his decision by saying he didn’t want to risk player injuries on the second night of a back-to-back. But the NBA determined the players could have reasonably played under the new policy’s medical standards.

Teams can be fined up to $100,000 for a first violation, $250,000 for a second violation, and $1 million for each subsequent violation. The Nets became the first team punished under the strengthened policy.