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D-League to start calling technical for flopping in game, see if that works

Feb 19, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT

Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, flop Getty Images

The D-League is where the NBA likes to try out rule changes first to see how they work. For example, this season the D-League uses quicker timeouts and is using the international goaltending rule (once the ball hits the rim it is live and can be knocked off).

Now the D-League is going to try handing out in-game technical for flopping in an effort to slow a trend the NBA finds embarrassing. They will start trying it out on Feb. 20, the league announced.

Right now referees can call a personal foul for flopping, but that is rare. To be clear, they are defining flopping as “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referee to call a foul on another player.”

Referees will be told to call a flopping technical more aggressively, but then will have to go to the instant replay monitors to confirm the call (not at that moment but at the next time out or quarter break). The foul shot with the technical would be taken after that confirmation.

The NBA needs to try something because the slap on the wrist fines currently assessed — just a warning the first time, a $5,000 fine the second and escalating from there — simply isn’t working.

Players flop, they embellish contact because it works — they do get foul calls and the penalty is not a deterrent. Maybe these in game penalties would help, but if they are sometimes getting the calls they want in game for flopping they likely will risk the technical to continue.

Personally, I’m with Shane Battier on this — if you want to do away with flopping, make the fine $25,000 for the first offense and have it escalate fast. Make it hurt in the wallet and guys are more likely to stop.

But we’ll try technical in the D-League first, I guess.

  1. chris3141084 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I’d prefer to see a percentage of their pay, even 25k is steeper for some than others. But good for the league for trying to curb the problem.

  2. sportsnut101 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Suspend the player for the quarter or half
    fine them 30,000
    tech on each 1 after 2 on same player they are ejected
    Its simple can review questionable ones during timeouts and halftime. Enough of this

  3. casualcommenter - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I think in-game penalties are much better than just fines.

    The commenter above suggests a $25,000 fine, but consider this. If you’re earning anywhere from $1 million to $20 million per year, and you have a chance to significantly improve your odds of winning a championship by flopping near the end of a close playoff game, would you be willing to pay a $25k fine? Of course. The league doesn’t revoke playoff wins due to flops, so you still get the win.

    However, in-game penalties hurt the player’s team during the game (duh). That in my opinion would be a more powerful punishment than fines because it hurts the player’s team’s ability to win that same game, and that’s what motivating these players. Not fines but the desire to win, even by somewhat shady means.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Oh, I see the first commenter technically proposed going with a percentage of player’s salary. Still, the same decision-making process applies. Would you flop if the only penalty is a small percentage of your paycheck? Probably.

      Would you flop if the referees penalized you in-game and handed points to the other team as a result? Less likely.

      It’s smart of the NBA to use the D-league as a testing ground.

  4. 1forest1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    I think they should definitely use this in the NBA, but only when it’s pretty obvious. Personally I like the way they’re handling this. Players who have been warned and fined for flopping don’t nearly do it as much.

    I know players would still do it in the playoffs or at crucial plays. I think they should definitely increase the penalties in the playoffs. Also if they use this technical foul for flopping, and make an example out of players(hopefully a star) then I think that would make these players seriously consider doing it

  5. ProBasketballPundit - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    For God’s sake NOOOOOOOO!! When will we learn that giving officials more authority NEVER solves any problems. Officials are human and they make mistakes, that’s why flopping is a problem. So handing over more discretionary authority will somehow make them get the calls right? That’s effing absurd.

    • davidly - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Exactly. Even with hi-res closeup video of every angle, some of the flop calls by the league have been questionable and others haven’t been called at all. The refs aren’t going to be able to do any better.

  6. savvybynature - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    The fines will never have the desired affect, but it is a particularly meaningless system when its enforcement is totally arbitrary.
    Just as one example of what a joke it is, Lebron has never been warned or fined for flopping.

    • adamh3624 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      The NBA fined LeBron James in last year’s playoffs. The double flop with David West. But point taken, he’s a major offender with only one fine.

  7. goodknave - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    The timeouts used at the end of games are all 30 seconds, instead of each team using a pair of TOs that take 2:30. That is a tremendous rule change that the NBA should adopt as well.

    And the “ball on the rim is live” rule is also good, particularly on foul shots bouncing around. It’s the same as the International rule, and it’s always fun to hear the crowd go nuts when they think it’s goaltending.

    Adopt both, NBA.

  8. davidly - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    The NBA refs are already implicitly calling flops when they don’t blow the whistle. We have to assume that some of those no-calls are actual fouls. If we heap dubious flop charges upon already unfair no-calls, it just compounds the problem.

    You think players flip when they get screwed on the court? Just wait until somebody gets mugged, and instead of his opponent getting whistled for the foul, the fouled player gets T’d up for a flop. Nah, man, nah. We don’t need that crap.

  9. chris3141084 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    To the commenters above, there aren’t many players making 20 mil, I think Kobe and JJ are the two highest paid per year. But if a player that flops. I’d think 25 percent, 50, 75, 100 percent of your game check would curb the flopping. In that regard it would start at about 3k for the first offense for those making 1 million. 25k would be equal to about 2 games worth for those players. While LeBron (I’ll get thumbs down for accusing the him of flopping but wth) his first fine would be equal to about 50k assuming he’s making 16m a year. I open the floor for comments.

  10. adamh3624 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    The major problem with flopping is that it isn’t just role players doing it. If Reggie Evans and PJ Tucker were leading the charge it wouldn’t be such an issue. When the NBA’s superstars are at the forefront it creates a poor situation.

    LeBron James, James Harden and Chris Paul all are career floppers. James is the face of the NBA and has immeasurable talent. So why does he resort to such ridiculous tactics? He doesn’t need that advantage. Anyone disagreeing with this can go to YouTube and search ‘Lebron James flopping’. I can prove anything with factual video evidence. Same with Harden and Paul, they are incredibly talented and don’t need to resort to treachery on the court. It creates a domino effect.

    There is a culture in the NBA that says do anything to get the win. To me that means making shots, hustling, rebounding, playing suffocating defense and making the extras pass. So many NBA players resort to flopping to get an extra possession or change momentum. It’s sickening and it is an epidemic, nothing short.

    Player don’t like the flopping label. Which is what the current system does. A slap on the wrist and you get labeled a flopper. But it hasn’t curtailed the act, clearly.

    Players need to get suspended and lose game checks. I don’t agree with in-game consequences. NBA officials have to deal with too much already. One warning then go directly into suspensions. In the playoffs, go straight to suspensions. Think King James will flop around this year if he can’t play the next game? Suspensions would eradicate this foul practice quickly.

    It’s on you Adam Silver.

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