The NBA Board of Governors on Friday approved new language in the league's rule book regarding traveling violations. The revision doesn't change the substance of the rule but is designed to eliminate the gap between the written rule and how it is often applied during games.
The rule clarification will now formally define the "gather," which is now written as when a player receives a pass or gains possession of a loose ball, as the point where said player "gains enough control of the ball to hold it, change hands, pass, shoot, or cradle it against his body."
For ball-handlers, the rule clarification is written as "putting two hands on the ball, permitting the ball to come to rest while he is in control of it, putting a hand under the ball and bringing it to a pause, or gaining enough control of the ball to hold it, change hands, pass, shoot, or cradle it against his body."
The gather has long been a casual basketball term, but never defined in the NBA rule book.
Now incorporated into the traveling rule, a player who gathers the ball while progressing may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball, or, if he hasn't yet dribbled, one step prior to releasing the ball to start his dribble. A player who gathers the ball while dribbling may take two steps in coming to a stop, or before passing or shooting the ball. The first step occurs when one foot, or both feet, touch the floor after the player gathers the ball.
As in the spirit of the new rule clarification, NBA officials at the time defined the play as legal because Beal lost control of the ball after two steps following his gather. "After regaining possession, a player is allowed to regain his pivot foot and pass or shoot prior to that foot returning to the ground," the National Basketball Referees Association tweeted at the time.
The Board of Governors also confirmed Friday that teams must now submit starting lineups to officials 30 minutes before tipoff. The previous deadline was 10 minutes.