The Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $25,000 on Thursday afternoon for violating the NBA's resting player policy. According to Stadium's Shams Charania, the source of the fine stems from Minnesota's decision to rest D'Angelo Russell during a game against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 23.
Russell's absence was inconspicuous at the time as Russell was in and out of the lineup for the Warriors in the week before his trade that sent him to the Timberwolves. The guard sat out the Feb. 8 game against the Los Angeles Clippers due to the injury but returned two nights later in a game in Toronto.
After Russell was in the lineup for the next three games which included a nine-day layoff over the All-Star break, he sat out the 128-116 loss to the Nuggets before returning to the lineup the following night against the Dallas Mavericks.
The policy was put into place prior to the 2017-18 NBA season to prevent teams from resting key players in "high-profile games," including games that are nationally televised. The matchup with the Nuggets was hardly a high profile game with the Northwest Division leaders taking on the last-place Wolves but was televised on NBATV, which is a logical cause for the fine.
With the Wolves also having a mysterious situation with a knee injury suffered by Karl-Anthony Towns earlier this year (and a fractured wrist that is currently keeping the star center out), Minnesota may have been under the microscope as they sit with the NBA's third-worst record heading into Thursday night's games.
However, such a situation is peculiar after a tweet President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas sent out after the Wolves' last-second victory in Miami on Wednesday night.
The good news is that Russell seems healthy after stuffing Jimmy Butler at the horn in the win, but the Wolves may have to be more creative if they want to keep accumulating ping pong balls in the NBA lottery.