NEW YORK -- The NBA will penalize flopping this season, fining players for repeated violations of an act a league vice president says has "no place in our game."
Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
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The league said Wednesday that flopping will be defined as "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," the NBA said in a statement.
"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," vice president of basketball operations 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."
The new rule was greeted with tepid enthusiasm at the Berto Center. A video review after the fact would have done nothing to change LeBron James' infamous fake eye poke during the 2011 Eastern Conference finals, for example.
"Only time will tell," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "Flopping is annoying, so I think it's a good rule. It's going to be hard to enforce. It's pretty opinionated. We'll see."
"If they were going to do it, they should have done it a long time ago," added guard Richard Hamilton. "I don't know. It's certain people's game these days. It's their actual game -- flopping. Guys are going to figure out ways to adjust and do stuff that you're not supposed to do and then they're going to come back with another rule. I don't flop."
Commissioner David Stern has long sought to end flopping, believing it tricks the referees. But the league determined it would be too difficult for refs to make the call on the floor, preferring instead to leave it to league office reviews. Jackson's department already reviews flagrant foul penalties to determine if they should be upgraded or downgraded.
• Daily Herald sports writer Mike McGraw contributed to this report.