The NBA wants flopping to bring harsher penalties for players, and the NBA commissioner appears prepared to outline new and stricter anti-flopping rules.
The issue is on the schedule for next week’s NBA competition committee, being held in San Antonio. This season the league put in place some measures against players who embellish contact in the hopes of drawing a foul, with a system that retroactively fines players for flopping.
But the rules were used sparingly, with only five players fined $5,000 during the regular season and seven fined in the playoffs.
Three of the flopping fines from the playoffs resulted from a single game. Last round the league fined LeBron James $5,000 for flopping in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, a play that also brought a fine to Indiana Pacers David West.
LeBron and West were battling for position on the play when both of them recoiled violently as they made contact. The NBA determined that both James and West were flopping on the play.
The NBA also penalized Pacer Lance Stephenson also exaggerated contact against Ray Allen in Game 4, earning him a $5,000 fine.
The NBA appears ready to increase penalties for flopping after its best player acknowledged the value of it. While denying that he engages in it, LeBron James said he understands that advantage that can come from flopping.
“Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage,” James said Monday before Tuesday’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. “Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”
David Stern acknowledged that a $5,000 fine is not enough of a deterrent for players.
“It isn’t enough, it isn’t enough,” Stern said in his annual pre-NBA Finals news conference. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”
Stern said a new penalty system for flopping needs to strike a balance between swift action and remaining fair to players.
“We could end it immediately if we decided to suspend players,” Stern said. “But that might be a little Draconian at the moment.”
Stern added that the NBA committee will be reviewing data collected over the last season to determine new penalties for flopping.