So maybe this is why James Harden is holding out for a max contract.
The league officially announced its anti-flopping policy today, punishing players following a video review after the game with fines.
“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” executive VP of basketball ops Stu Jackson said. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be given an automatic penalty.”
Here’s how the league defines it: “Any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”
There’s this qualifier too: “Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.” Essentially you could call that the Nick Collison Clause.
The penalties shake out as such:
- Violation 1: Warning
- Violation 2: $5,000 fine
- Violation 3: $10,000 fine
- Violation 4: $15,000 fine
- Violation 5: $30,000 fine
A sixth violation will result in a punishment “that is reasonable under the circumstances” including an increased fine or even a suspension.
Some have asked already if Kevin Durant’s “rip move” would fall under the flop criteria. I don’t think so. The league already installed a rule last season to make it a non-shooting foul, but the play includes real contact and isn’t a simulation of a foul. A rake across the arms is a foul.
The league will likely enforce the rules fairly conservatively, taking a “know it when you see it” mentality. We all know what a flop looks like. Taking a legit charge or trying to draw a foul in the paint aren’t flops. Those are basketball plays. Sprawling out at midcourt after a minor bump or throwing your head back when someone backs you down, those are flops.
I asked Collison at media if he felt like taking a charge was a flop. His answer: “It depends man, some of those you get hit pretty hard. Others, not as hard. I’m definitely curious to hear what they’re going to say because that does equate to some of the things I do on the court for sure.”
I agree with Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com though. The biggest deterrent here isn’t the money, because those are mostly pennies to the majority of players. It’s if you get hit with a fine, it means you’re labeled as a flopper, something that’s kind of a scarlet letter in the league.
It’s already become a blemish on Harden’s profile. He’s a beautifully technical, fundamental player. Except he simulates contact. There are more egregious offenders in the league, but here’s the thing about flopping: Why stop if it works? If you can pick up a foul on a guy, get to the penalty or go to the free throw line, why not do it? Now that the league has made it obvious that they are watching, maybe players will chill with faking fouls.
A separate set of penalties will be announced for flopping in the playoffs at a later time.