NBA wants to stop the flop: How will it affect the Suns?


The NBA announced Wednesday morning that it intends to stop the flop, but it only took until the afternoon for resistance to rear its head.

The NBA announced a penalty ladder that begins with a simple warning on a first flopping violation but quickly extends to large fines, reaching $30,000 by the sixth flop. After that, the release from the NBA suggests that suspensions could follow.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter released a statement saying the union believes players’ rights are being compromised. The NBPA filed a grievance and an unfair labor practice charge against David Stern and the NBA.

From the statement Hunter sent to the media:

“The NBA is not permitted to unilaterally impose new economic discipline against the players without first bargaining with the union. We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport. We will bring appropriate legal action to challenge what is clearly a vague and arbitrary overreaction and overreach by the Commissioner’s office.”

Historically, the Suns are in the thick of the flopping discussion. Whether it was Raja Bell “taking” a Kobe Bryant elbow or (fill in with “a game against the San Antonio Spurs” here), the question of whether or not to stop the flop can be applied.

Despite the roster moves this offseason, the Suns are still relevant in the flop discussion — Luis Scola has made a hobby of acting on the basketball court, for good or for bad.

Generally, the act of flopping is often more of a mental assault on the opponent. Sometimes, flopping moreso affects the game by distracting the other team rather than simply giving a player an extra foul and the offense another possession.

There are bad parts to it, though. Oftentimes watching Scola with the Rockets or with Argentina, his flailing to the ground would end in a no-call, and it’d leave his man without a defender on his back. Jared Dudley’s use of the flop stands as a less radical example of a current Phoenix player who might need to shape up if new rules are in place.

But when you get to the more broad focus of flopping harming basketball’s integrity, then it becomes more tempting to agree with Stern and the NBA front office applying the new regulations. The argument by the NBPA that economic deprivation for “vague and arbitrary overreaction” for a similarly vague distinction of flopping is also a valid claim.

After all, the NBA’s definition of a flop reads broadly, as follows:

“‘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.”

There are many issues at play here. On the court, the Suns have a couple of flop artists, but so do other teams. Does it harm the game? And is it fair to charge players their salaries for something broadly defined — and without discussing the provisions with the NBPA? And more locally, how will a rule change help or hurt Phoenix?

  • Danc133

    For me the biggest issue on flopping is when it effects the outcome of games. For this reason the fine the next day while might deter some if a game is on the line, or series it will still continue to occur.

    The proper way to do it, IMHO would be to add a 4th ref and have it reviewed at the next break in action like is done with 3 pointers. This way it wouldn’t interrupt the flow of the game but, could keep the outcome from being changed. A perfect example of that could be a player getting for his 3rd foul in the first half so have to sit and change his play the second half.

    Is this perfect, not by any stretch, but do you think D Wade, Or C Paul, two of the biggest floppers in the game care about a couple grand in a fine? Having a 4th ref giving a fourth angle for most calls would help curtail it and with replay tech as good as it is now wouldn’t slow the game doing reviews during the breaks.

  • Roger

    4th referee? Nice idea but David S. will never pay for it. If you remember, adding a 3rd referee took NBA decades to pony up the money.

  • Scott

    This type of ruling might mean that players save their flopping for the playoffs.

  • Jason

    I, too, beleive that this will mean that the floppers will just wait until th eplayoffs (or a game that may help get them there) to start the flopping. Yes, I am looking at you Manu!!!

  • steve

    I can’t stand unions, in general. However, I have to agree with Hunter on this. I don’t think the NBA should legally be allowed to invent fines that weren’t originally bargained. They allowed the players to unionize, so they should honor that union and do things the right way.

    I know it won’t come to this, but could you imagine if this resulted in a strike? Lockout one year, strike the next.

  • Serek

    Fun fact: You can now flop in NBA 2K13. Apparently it is such an integral part of the game, that it had to be included in the computer version. What makes it even funnier, the player is taught how to do it in the tutorial mode, the “Training camp”.

  • B. Cray Z.

    I remember a Suns vs. Spurs game.

    Like so many between them that I saw at US Airways Center, the Spurs were up to mischief.

    Manu was the only Spur not on the defensive end. Perhaps he was looking for some poor defenseless bats to kill? Nash was with him, trying to keep him honest, in case of a fast break. Manu stepped up like he was going to goose Nash, close enough to fool the refs. Then Manu grabs Nash by the back of his jersey, like a football play. Manu pulled Nash backwards, making him fall. Then Manu pretended that Nash made contact & fell back. Refs “fell” for it, calling the foul on Nash & awarded the Spurs the ball.

    MUST reunite that killer bench unit. Let’s go SUNS!!!!