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?