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NBA revises language on traveling rule, but substance remains the same

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, September 21, 2019 11:12pm

The National Basketball Association on Saturday (Philippine time) adopted a new language in the rule regarding traveling violations, adding the term ‘gather’ in stating the said rule with the aim of helping “eliminate the gap between the rule as written and how it has been applied in NBA games.”

The new traveling rule now reads: “A player who gathers the ball while progressing may (a) take two steps in coming to a stop, passing, or shooting the ball, or (b) if he has not yet dribbled, one step prior to releasing the ball to start his dribble.”

The rule also states that “a player who gathers the ball while dribbling may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball” and “the first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after the player gathers the ball.”

“For a player who receives a pass or gains possession of a loose ball, the gather is defined as the point where the player gains enough control of the ball to hold it, change hands, pass, shoot, or cradle it against his body,” read the rule.

If the player is in control of the ball while dribbling, the gather is defined as the point where a
player (a) “puts two hands on the ball, or otherwise permits the ball to come to rest, while he is in control of it”, (b) “puts a hand under the ball and brings it to a pause”, or (c) “gains enough control of the ball to hold it, change hands, pass, shoot, or cradle it against his body.”

Houston Rockets’ James Harden has been known to take steps while he had the ball, that may or may not appear like traveling depending on who sees it. Steph Curry has tried to copy Harden’s move in games, but the Golden State Warriors point guard was whistled for a traveling violation while Harden does not hear the whistle when he does the move.

The NBA is also requiring teams to submit their starting lineups 30 minutes prior to the game’s scheduled start time instead of the previous rule of 10 minutes “to increase transparency for teams, media and fans, the league will now require.” Teams will retain the ability to amend their starting lineups prior to the beginning of the game if circumstances change.

The NBA said that the rule is most likely to occur if a player sustains or reaggravates an injury during pregame warm-ups.

The NBA’s Competition Committee unanimously recommended the clarification of the rule governing traveling violations and the new deadline for the submission of starting lineups, according to an official NBA press release.

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