The Los Angeles Clippers are managing Kawhi Leonard extremely carefully, often to the detriment of television viewers. The Clippers, so far, have decided not to let Leonard play in both legs of back-to-backs. In their first back-to-back of the season, they chose to sit him out on a nationally televised game against the Utah Jazz rather than a locally televised battle with the San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers have a similar back-to-back setup Wednesday and Thursday. Tonight, they will play the Milwaukee Bucks on national TV, while Thursday, they will play the Portland Trail Blazers on the local airwaves. Leonard will sit out tonight's game and play tomorrow.
A number of fans living outside of southern California were naturally upset by this decision, as they have only limited opportunities to see Leonard play, yet the Clippers have continuously deprived them of those chances. Load management has been a hot-button topic for the league as a whole for the past several years. The league has to satisfy its broadcasting partners, and has made a point of asking teams not to rest star players for nationally televised games. Still, in a statement released through Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league supported the Clippers' decision to rest Leonard during back-to-backs.
"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.