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10 Takeaways from 2014-15 NBA Operations Manual

Eric Pincus looked through the NBA operations manual and found 10 things you probably didn’t know about the league.

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The NBA annually updates its operations manual, a 750-page beast that breaks down the rules of the league from the anti-drug program, to court dimensions, to in-game music.

Some of the items make absolute sense — others make no sense at all.

Here are 10 takeaways from the 2014-15 NBA Operations Manual.

  1. It’s illegal for a player to chew gum during the National Anthem.
  2. No player dressed for a game can be traded until after it’s completed, including NBA Development League appearances.  That doesn’t mean a team can’t agree to trade a player during the game, it just can’t actually be executed while in progress.
  3. It costs a team $1,000 to make a waiver claim, payable to the NBA.
  4. It’s illegal for any mascots or in-game entertainers to abuse “dummy likenesses” of referees or opposing players/coaches.   Blimps may not land on or fly over the court.  No foghorns, vuvuzelas or didgeridoos.
  5. Teams are required to assign no more than two “designated negotiators” to represent the franchise in communication with free agents and their representatives (one is typically the general manager).  Until one of the two acknowledge interest in a free agent to the media, no one else in the organization — be it coach or public relations director — can comment publicly on the targeted player.  Penalties for breaking the rules may climb as high as $1 million each.
  6. A regular timeout is a minute and 40 seconds, although the rules specify the ball is put back in play at a minute and 50 seconds.  The 20-second timeout is similarly extended to 30 seconds.  Halftime is 15 minutes while quarter breaks are two each.
  7. Remember the LeBron James cramp game with the Miami HEAT?  A broken air conditioner had the temperature sweltering over the required 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit as proscribed in the operation manual.  Maximum humidity for an NBA game is 55 percent.
  8. What kind of wood makes up an NBA court?  Maple, of “second and/or better” grade.  Courts must be replaced every 10 years, although an extension can be requested (upon inspection by the league).  The floor must be ready at least four hours before the game, “vacuumed and then mopped.”  They also need to be sanded at least every fourth season.
  9. Each NBA player is entitled to 16 days off each regular season (October through mid-April).  Those days don’t have to be for the entire team, but are calculated per individual player — and kept track of when one is traded, or claimed off waivers.  A day off means no games, practice, promotional events or travel, and an NBA Development League assignment does not provide a loophole.  Some of the days off happen naturally during the All-Star Break, although not for participants.
  10. The home team in-arena music cannot play a song like “Three Blind Mice” to criticize an official.  Songs that can be played while the visiting team is on offense include “Addams Family,” “We Will Rock You,” “Day-O,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” “Jaws,” “Mexican Hat Dance,” and a small list of other generic prompts, like the “defense” chant.

Eric Pincus is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders, with a focus on the business side of the game.

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