Lakers say flopping is bad for the game as NBA announces fines


Call it the Vlade Divac Rule. Or the Derek Fisher Fine.

The NBA announced it would fine players who flop too often, levying penalties of up to $30,000 and possible suspensions.

“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 executive Stu Jackson said in a statement Tuesday.

Already an old bunch, the Lakers don’t try to take many charges on the court. They claim to hate floppers.

“Shameless flopping, that’s just a chump move,” Kobe Bryant said.

Metta World Peace has been in trouble with the league plenty of times, but he frowns at flopping. He pulled a reporter for The Times onto the court after Lakers practice Tuesday, smacked into him with a good degree of force and noted that the reporter took a couple of steps backward but didn’t fall on his behind.

The unspoken message: If a reporter can handle it, why can’t Manu Ginobili and Blake Griffin?

“I do think it looks bad on TV,” World Peace said, speaking generally. “In the playoffs or the championship and somebody flops, there’s money on the line. It’s the NBA Finals, a new lady is watching and never saw basketball, she sees [flopping] and wonders, ‘What is that?’ She won’t watch the game anymore.”

The players’ union, however, threatened legal action.

“The NBA is not permitted to unilaterally impose new economic discipline against the players without first bargaining with the union,” union Executive Director Billy Hunter said in a statement. “We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport.”

The NBA office merely warns a player after his first flop but follows up with fines of $5,000 for a second violation, $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for a fifth transgression.

A sixth flop could mean an even larger fine of an undisclosed amount and possible suspension too. All fines will be determined using day-after video review of games.

The league defined flopping 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 flops is whether a player’s physical reaction to contact is “inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact,” the NBA said. Minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops, nor will “legitimate attempts at a basketball play.”

Pau Gasol was mildly disapproving of the financial penalty and wished flopping infractions were enforced in games. In international play, a player who flops is warned by a referee and, if it happens again, the other team gets two free throws and possession of the ball.

Still no clearance

Dwight Howard again took part in practice Tuesday, going through walk-throughs and drills with limited physical contact.

He has not been medically cleared to play in a five-on-five scrimmage; Howard had back surgery in April.

“Just waiting for the doctors, trainers and Dwight to clear him,” Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. “When that happens, he’ll go full tilt.” Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.