The upside of the NBA’s lockout-compacted 66-game schedule? It can shorten the lengths of previously handed-down suspensions, with Andrew Bynum and Charlie Villanueva receiving that benefit of the doubt to start the season.
The downside? Less tolerance from big brother, namely NBA czar of discipline Stu Jackson.
While much was made publicly of the league reducing the season-opening suspensions of Bynum and Villanueva by one game apiece, from the original five-game length because of 2011-12 being reduced from 82 to 66 games, a similar proportional change in the rules regarding technical fouls this season has gone largely unnoticed.
Last season, a player’s first five technical fouls cost $2,000 apiece; this season the first four are set at that amount.
Last season, the 6th through 10th technical fouls were $3,000 each; this season the $3,000 charge applies for Nos. 5 through 8.
Last season, Nos. 11-15 costs $4,000 each; this season the $4,000 charge is for Nos. 9-12.
And last season, each technical foul No. 16 or above cost $5,000; this season it’s $5,000 for each technical No. 13 and above.
But the biggest change in the reapportionment is not with the scale of fines, but rather when a mandatory one-game suspension kicks in. Last season it started at No. 16; this season it will start at No. 13.
Teams were informed of the changes on the eve of the season.
So could it lead to greater restraint?
“With technical fouls going up, I might need a little help this year,” Heat power forward Udonis Haslem said of otherwise generally being the first one jumping into heated situations. “But you don’t really think about the money. You don’t really think about what you’re sacrificing.”
The league, however, made it clear to teams what that sacrifice would be.
“It’s getting more expensive this year,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.