Based on the tone of several responses to the NBA's crackdown on flopping this season, you would think no player in the league has ever exaggerated physical contact — or a lack thereof.
“We don't flop over here,” Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. “We play D. If we take charges, it's a real charge. There are some teams that live and die by the flop. I like the rule. It puts pressure on guys to play better defense.”
Not surprisingly, rebellious Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is resisting the league's new action, claiming the anti-flopping rule is “very subjective” and difficult to legislate.
“They're going to have to stick to the most obvious (flops),” Cuban said. “Like he missed you and you fell over. Those type of things.”
Given what has transpired so far this preseason, the NBA apparently means business.
Golden State guard Jarrett Jack said the league warned him about flopping in a preseason game. "So I've been warned for flopping hahaha," Jack tweeted.
A league source told Grantland.com that NBA officials warned “about 10” players for flopping, but the league refused to release the names.
“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,” NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement. “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.”
Any player guilty of flopping will be subject to a warning, followed by a $5,000 fine for a second violation, $10,000 for the third and $15,000 for the fourth. The fifth flop will result in a $30,000 fine. Six or more violations will lead to an increased fine and/or suspension.
Thunder forward Nick Collison does not have the flopper's chromosome, which makes him one of the league's most respected players when it comes to drawing offensive fouls.
A no-nonsense guy, Collison said referees can put a stop to flopping by officiating the contest accordingly.
“How the officials call the game, that's how the players are going to play,” said Collison, who was second in the league in 2009-10 with 57 charges. “The players are going to adjust to how they call it. The reason guys flop is because it's gotten them calls. If it didn't get them calls, guys wouldn't do it.”
Many theorize the embryonic stages of flopping began overseas in professional soccer. The deceptive act eventually oozed its way into international basketball, which resulted in European players being labeled as the biggest culprits in the NBA.
“I don't know why everybody just talks about European flopping,” said Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, who will play a preseason game against the Thunder at 7 p.m. Sunday in Chesapeake Energy Arena. “I don't know where this thing comes from. We flop as much as other players all around the world flop. I don't know why everybody keeps saying that Europeans are soft or Europeans flop. I don't know.”
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao of Brazil insists he has changed since being voted the league's No. 1 flopper in a player poll conducted by Sports Illustrated two seasons ago.
“I'm not flopping anymore,” Varejao said. “I used to flop a little bit.”
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili finished second to Varejao in the SI poll and routinely has been hailed as the king of floppers.
Unlike Collison, however, Ginobili said he doesn't think the crackdown on flopping will change the way the game is played.
“It's going to be very hard to determine when it's a flop and when it's not,” Ginobili said. “There's a lot of contact, a lot of heavy players, and it can be tricky. I don't think (fining players) is going to happen much.”
Interestingly enough, the first crackdown on flopping came from FIBA — the sport's international governing body — which allows officials to issue an immediate technical foul to a player deemed to flop.
“You look at what they do in Europe, with the technical, that seems more in line,” said San Antonio forward Matt Bonner, a vice president of the players' union. “It's enough of a deterrent to keep guys from flopping. Fining guys I don't think is necessary.”
Thunder vs. Nuggets
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM
Three things to know
* Thunder guards James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha are expected to return from injuries against the Nuggets.
* This is the fifth of seven scheduled preseason games for the Thunder but the last exhibition inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
* Russell Westbrook scored 18 points with 12 assists against Phoenix on Friday night in Tulsa.