James Harden, this is me, wagging my finger at you.
The NBA announced that the Houston Rockets shooting guard has been issued a warning for flopping against the Portland Trail Blazers. Special thanks to ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin for bringing this to our attention:
Footage of Harden's flop can be seen below:
Upon review, it's clear Harden flopped. Unless Wesley Matthews somehow managed to violently tug on Harden's beard without us knowing, it appears he fell to the floor on purpose.
Enraged by the call, Matthews disputed it and received a technical. Fortunately, those whistles weren't the difference between a win and a loss for the Blazers, who ultimately went down, 116-101.
If Harden is caught flopping again, he will be fined $5,000 by the league. Repeat offenders could incur fines up to $30,000, per The Washington Post's Michael Lee; six or more flopping penalties could result in a suspension.
Though Harden is raking in over $13.7 million this season, $5,000 alone would be a steep price to pay just to influence the outcome of a single play. Any fines thereafter are even more excessive. He'd be better off using that coin to host more yacht parties. Or finance a global ban on shaving.
Fellow superstars Kevin Love and John Wall have already been warned for violating the league's anti-flopping policy as well. Harden joins them and Zaza Pachulia, Corey Brewer and Patty Mills as the first six players caught in the act.
It bears mentioning that we're not even two weeks into the NBA season, either. Six players are a lot at this point in the year, providing some useful fodder for those arguing that flopping has become an epidemic.
Indeed, the fines haven't deterred flopping enough. Three of the players already warned aren't superstars earning eight figures this year or, in Wall's case, starting next season.
At this rate, a warning may be too lenient. One free flop might encourage players to, well, flop at least once.
For Harden at least, his free-flopping days are over five games into the season. Flop again, and his "I'm on a boat party" fund will be $5,000 lighter.