News Category: Rules


NBA to fine Players for Flopping

The NBA’s new competition committee (instituted this year) met in mid-September to attempt to resolve the issue of Flopping which has been plaguing the NBA.

Flopping can be defined as when a player acts to play out the result of imaginary contact, or exaggerate contact between themselves and 1 or more other players; often flailing, falling or throwing themselves to the floor under their own power, or screaming or grunting in pain/surprise/exertion to accentuate this.

This is beneficial to the player who flops as it can result in a foul being called when little to no contact has occurred, whether it be Flopping to exaggerate contact on a shot to have the opposing player called for a foul and for the flopping player to subsequently be rewarded with Free Throws, or for a defensive player to flop when an offensive player is making a move with the ball, causing an offensive foul to be called on the offensive player and possession to be awarded to the flopping player’s team.

Chris Bosh Flopping

From watching a typical NBA game, it is easy to see that some players are more guilty of flopping than others. It is unclear at this stage whether the exaggeration of contact, or the faking of the effects or contact, will both become fine-able offenses, or if only “Non-contact Flops” will result in a fine.

According to an official NBA release:

““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.

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.”

The NBA has also provided an Instructional Anti-Flopping video outlining the new rules.

The infraction itself will be determined post-game, upon a review of the game by the NBA League Office.

If the player is determined to be guilty of flopping, they are likely to be fined the following amounts depending on whether they are repeat offenders:

  • Violation 1: Warning
  • Violation 2: $5,000 fine
  • Violation 3: $10,000 fine
  • Violation 4: $15,000 fine
  • Violation 5: $30,000 fine
  • Violation 6 or more: Increased Fines and/or Suspensions

The NBA Player’s Association however is attempting to block the implementation of this policy by filing a grievance, due to the fact that the aforementioned penalties were not discussed with the Player’s Association, making it unlawful according to them.

The NBA however, has stated that the new anti-flopping penalties are consistent with the NBA’s rights and obligations under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Law.

NBA commissioner David Stern has announced a new “Competition Committee” made up of select Team Owners, General Managers & Coaches, tasked with improving the level of competition and play in the NBA by suggesting rule changes & modifications to the game.

The Competition Committee has 2 main rule changes on it’s agenda, penalizing the act of “Flopping” (the exaggeration of contact or blatant acting to simulate contact occuring in order to draw a Foul.), and implementing FIBA’s Goaltending Rules (which were already being trialed in the NBA D-League).

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol follows his own miss with a put-back dunk… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Under FIBA Goaltending rules, a player is allowed to make contact with the ball after a shot as soon as the ball makes contact with the rim, regardless of if it is in the cylinder of the hoop or not.

Under current NBA Rules, if an offensive player were to Tip-In a ball which was bouncing around the rim, yet still in the cylinder of the hoop, it would be deemed Offensive Interference, however under FIBA Rules, this would be counted as an Offensive Rebound and a Made Basket.

Similarly, Defensive Rebounding would likely see an uptick, as a ball could theoretically be grabbed out of the cylinder of the hoop at any time after making contact with the rim, potentially avoiding a basket where the ball bounces on the rim multiple times before dropping through the net.

Under current NBA rules, rebounding the ball while it is still in the cylinder of the hoop is considered a Defensive Goaltending Violation.

While the impact these rules would have on the NBA game are uncertain, it is likely that size & athleticism would become even more valuable, as a team’s Bigs scramble to grab a shot off the rim before it drops as the final seconds tick down, or a player who is only on the floor for their hustle makes a desperate dive at the rim for a putback dunk before the shooter even releases the ball.

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