NBA tightens traveling violations with new language

/ 09:08 PM September 21, 2019

FILE – Head coach Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards looks for a traveling call against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

NBA club owners on Friday announced they have approved new language in the league rule book clarifying traveling violations so officials can better apply the regulations in games.

The NBA board of governors also approved a new rule requiring starting lineups be submitted 30 minutes before tipoff rather than 10 minutes in advance, that and the traveling rule change both being recommended unanimously by the league’s competition committee.


“One of the most misunderstood rules in our game is how traveling is interpreted and appropriately called,” said Byron Spruell, NBA president of league operations.

“Revising the language of certain areas of the rule is part of our three-pronged approach to address the uncertainty around traveling. This approach also includes an enforcement plan to make traveling a point of emphasis for our officiating staff, along with an aggressive education plan to increase understanding of the rule by players, coaches, media and fans.”


The text of the rule will indicate how many steps a player may take after he “gathers” the ball, a concept used by NBA officials for many years but one that has not, until now, been spelled out in league rules.

Gathering the ball happens when a player receives a pass or recovers a loose ball with enough control to hold it, change hands, shoot, pass or hold the ball against his body.

Players can take two steps in coming to a stop, shooting or passing the ball. If he has not dribbled he gets one step before releasing the ball to start his dribble.

A player who gathers the ball from his dribble can take two steps in coming to a stop, shooting or passing, with the first step taking place when one or both feet touch the floor after the “gather”.

NBA players, coaches and referees will be able to consult a training video on the change starting next week ahead of next month’s start of the 2019-20 season.

Teams will be able to amend their starting lineup for exceptional circumstances, including but not limited to players injuring themselves in pre-game warmups.

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TAGS: Basketball, NBA, rule book, traveling
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