Prior to the 2012-13 regular season, the NBA installed a penalty system in an attempt to prevent flopping. The Association defines a "flop" as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. With monetary fines set up to deter players from committing acts detrimental to the game, it seemed as if the punishment could have been enough.
After a year in which the offenses remained disappointingly high, NBA commissioner David Stern is now considering increasing the penalties for flopping.
According to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, Stern realizes that the penalties set in place simply were not enough. The less-than-significant nature of the fines in comparison to the players' salaries continues to be a major obstacle to their effectiveness.
As a result, the commissioner could act swiftly and take additional measures to cure the game.
“It isn’t enough. It isn’t enough,” Stern said. “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. But you take a step and you begin to see it.”
“Yes, I think we do,” Stern said. “I think we have the data. I don’t know if we have the stomach. And we’ll have to see what happens with the Competition Committee and the Board.”
Stern proceeded to say that this year's penalties were not a part of the final system. Rather, they were a stepping stone in the right direction.
The NBA upped the ante during the postseason, creating an updated set of flopping rules as the world pays significantly more attention to every individual game. The first four violations result in monetary punishments, while any further offenses could result in a suspension.
Here's a full breakdown via NBA.com.
Violation 1: $5,000 fine
Violation 2: $10,000 fine
Violation 3: $15,000 fine
Violation 4: $30,000 fine
If a player violates the anti-flopping rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
The hope was that these fines would serve as a deterrent, and it's clear that they haven't.
Instead, the playoffs have led players to act in a manner that has been worse than the regular season. With more cameras on the action during the playoffs, there is an underlying reason for the increase in highly-publicized offenses, but it would be remiss to ignore how severe the disparity is.
Flops are more common than ever. Here is a list of players who have been fined for flopping:
|Reggie Evans, Brooklyn Nets||$5,000||Regular Season|
|Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn Nets||$5,000||Regular Season|
|J.J. Barea, Minnesota Timberwolves||$5,000||Regular Season|
|Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City Thunder||$5,000||Regular Season|
|Omer Asik, Houston Rockets||$5,000||Regular Season|
|Jeff Pendergraph, Indiana Pacers||$5,000||Playoffs|
|Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder||$5,000||Playoffs|
|J.R. Smith, New York Knicks||$5,000||
|Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies||$5,000||Playoffs|
|David West, Indiana Pacers||$5,000||Playoffs|
|LeBron James, Miami Heat||$5,000||Playoffs|
|Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers||$5,000||
That's five offenses during the regular season and seven during the playoffs. Something's wrong with this picture.
Several players have been fined and even more have been criticized by the NBA community for their acting performances on the court. Even the league's elite have seen their names brought into the flopping conversation, as league MVP LeBron James has come under fire for his flops in the playoffs.
It doesn't help the cause that LeBron, the face of the NBA, all but condoned flopping in a recent interview with Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
It was widely believed that the new flopping rules were working before the playoffs rolled around. Unfortunately, an elevated level of competition has brought the worst out of players.
How should the NBA penalize flopping?
Gaining an edge is one thing, but flopping is a crime against the reputation of this great game.
It's unclear what measures the NBA will take to prevent these acts from marring their league any further. With that being said, Stern appears focused on finding a penalty that matches up better with the salaries of the NBA players.
Thus, the penalties would likely reflect cash values that hurt the players' wallets a little harder.
It's a shame that it's come to this, but the NBA is desperate to preserve their reputation as they further develop their global brand. They don't help themselves when players are falling to the floor without contact.
The question is, will Stern take action this summer?