David Stern was selling it as a first step.
This season the NBA started publicly warning and making small fines against players who had the most egregious flops — it started with a warning then the fines started at $5,000 and went up with subsequent offenses. In the playoffs, all that changed was the warnings went away. The goal seemed to be to try and shame the players into compliance.
Didn’t work. NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted at his pre-finals press conference it didn’t work at that the penalties need to increase.
“It isn’t enough. It isn’t enough.,” Stern said. “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. But you take a step and you begin to see it.”
So will the NBA take the next step?
“Yes, I think we do,” Stern said. “I think we have the data. I don’t know if we have the stomach. And we’ll have to see what happens with the Competition Committee and the Board.”
It sounds like what he is saying is not only bigger fines, but also to expand the kind calls that are made. Last season only the most obvious were called out, that could change.
But what Stern really tried to do was sell this year’s flopping fines as the first step, not the expected solution to the problem.
“We knew that flopping was going to be far from perfect,” Stern said. “And we gather more attention because we were giving it more attention. 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. And so it’s going to be up to the Board and the Competition Committee to decide how much they want to do.”