The term load management has picked up a lot of traction in the last 5-10 years meaning many teams use that as an excuse to rest some of their players. However, often that rest isn't because of an injury, personal reasons, or something else, with players being completely healthy and ready to play, but for some reason, they are not. Teams and especially star players on specific squads do this from time to time, and it's a common trend nowadays.
You have to please the fans
Fans, former players, and various analysts object to load management, and there are valid reasons for those complaints, especially if a healthy all-star player is not playing that game. But, on the other hand, teams have their reasons for protecting the best players, especially if there are a few games left in the season before the playoffs. In that specific case, it's better to rest your players, hoping to have them fully prepared for the playoffs, where every game is critical.
When it comes to load management, it's always great to hear what former NBA players think about the subject. In an interview for Posted Up, HOF player Julius Erving talked about his views on it, saying it's strange that players make so much money and still decide to sit out on games even though they are healthy. Erving has that old-school mindset in which they considered every game equally essential and said he would play in every game if he were getting paid that much; there is no way he would sit out.
With the money being what it is now, I would be out there trying to play every game. If yall playing that, I would be out there playing every game. You want to win the most games you can; you want to have your best players as often as possible. You want to please the fans, and for their acceptance of you and your acceptance of them, you have to keep the audience.
Julius Erving, via Posted Up
Load management is a new innovation
Erving clarifies that load management is a new concept developed and accepted within the closed NBA community. Even though it doesn't sound like a big surprise, Erving is against this new trend because it essentially hurts the game as a product.
Load management is a new innovation, and I think it's endorsed by the officials, by the owners, board of governors. Everybody is in it, and somebody needs to be against it too, and I am the one against it.
Julius Erving, via Posted Up
Even though many disagree with the reasons for resting players, it's evident it will not go away anytime soon. More and more teams enforce that on their players even if they want to play. They see them as critical assets, and rightfully, it's seen as a wise business decision if you look at things from their perspective. As a response, the NBA started punishing teams for blatantly showcasing they are resting their players and will introduce new ways to limit load management as much as possible. However, they can't really do much about it when you look at the grand scheme of things. The players have their say in all of this, and there are a few bright examples in the NBA that constantly show up ready to play.