LeBron James believes NBA rest debate blew up only because he's involved

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Resting star players has become "a significant issue" for the NBA and LeBron James thinks he is to blame for the debate.

As the Cleveland Cavaliers star told reporters Tuesday, others teams and coaches have rested their players even before his time. But since James is involved in this particular incidence, now things are different. 

"Listen, [Gregg Popovich] been doing this for 10 years, 12 years, 15 years and everybody was like, 'You know what? That's the smartest thing Pop has ever done," James said.

"Give his guys a couple games off and here they go and win five championships. That's the smartest thing.' But some of our coaches in our league don't have the stature that Pop has and our head coach doesn't have it, so he gets killed for it.

"So, I got to keep winning to help my coach be able to have a reason why he can sit his players."

A week before James was benched, San Antonio Spurs head coach Popovich rested his stars as did Golde State Warriors boss Steve Kerr in an anticipated matchup between the two teams much to the chagrin of fans and ABC. 

On Monday, two days after the NBA voiced its displeasure with the Cavaliers for resting their 'Big Three' on national television, the league sent a sternly worded memo warning teams will suffer "significant penalties" if they do not provide notice before a player will sit due to rest. 

"I just know the conversation gets a little bit more talked about when I'm a part of it," James said. "If it's somebody else, it gets blown up a briefly, it gets talked about a little bit, but it doesn't have legs and it's gone. But as soon as I'm involved it's just a whole different situation."

James, who has missed five games due to rest this season, made sure not to cross commissioner Adam Silver with his comments but questioned some themes of the memo. 

"Adam is fantastic. I love what Adam is doing for our league, but I don't see how [increased involvement from ownership would help]," James said. "I don't understand why it's become a problem now, because I sit out a couple games?"

Silver wrote in the memo he believes it is wrong for owners to defer decision-making on resting players to others within the franchise, who may not understand the impact it has on fans, sponsors, league reputation and "perception of our game."