Commissioner David Stern said the NBA’s flopping penalties aren’t strong enough to stop the act, though he doesn’t know if the league will strengthen them.
The league implemented a system this season to crack down on flopping, the act of exaggerating contact to fool referees into calling a foul. Players were fined $5,000 for a second offense during the regular season, and were hit with the $5,000 penalty for a first instance in the playoffs.
”It isn’t enough,” Stern said Thursday during his last NBA Finals press conference. ”You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”
There were several instances of flops during the Eastern Conference finals between Miami and Indiana, with the league fining the Heat’s LeBron James, and the Pacers’ David West and Lance Stephenson following Game 4 of the series.
James had previously said that flopping was ”not even a bad thing, you’re just trying to get the advantage.”
But Stern said he’s not discouraged that players don’t seem to want the act ceased as badly as he does.
”We knew that flopping was going to be far from perfect. And we gather more attention because we were giving it more attention,” he said. ”But the point was to do it gently, look at all the flops – and there have been plenty – penalize the most egregious very gently.
”We could end that immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a little bit draconian at the moment.”
There were 19 warnings for first offenses during the regular season, and five players were fined after the league determined they flopped a second time. Six players have been fined in the postseason.
Stern said the league’s Board of Governors and Competition Committee will have further discussions before next season. He added that he believes the league has enough data if it wanted to take the next step with its policy.
”I don’t know if we have the stomach,” he said. ”And we’ll have to see what happens with the Competition Committee and the board.”
The 70-year-old Stern announced this season that he will step down on Feb, 1, coinciding with his 30th year on the job. NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will succeed Stern.