Flopping in the NBA is not a new issue — Vlade Divac mastered it long ago — but it has become a bigger topic of discussion in the last year. Talk about flopping is seemingly everywhere and suddenly there are people wondering if there is more flopping in the NBA or international soccer.
David Stern does not like that talk. Not one bit. You know how he gets about the NBA’s image. Flopping came up at his annual meeting with the media before Game 1 of the NBA finals and he was clearly frustrated.
“‘Flopping’ almost doesn’t do it justice,” Stern said. “Trickery. Deceit. Designed to cause the game to be decided other than on its merits. We’ll be looking at that.”
By “we” he means his streamlined (read: easier to control and manipulate) competition committee, which is going to start meeting next week. That committee has a couple owners, a couple GMs, players and owners (it used to be the 30 NBA GMs that decided rule changes). Stern said he has seen the agenda for the competition committee and flopping is on it.
Looking at it is one thing, the bigger challenge is how do you address it — if you’re talking about a charge/block situation that is a tough call anyway.
“Instant replay and elimination of tricks that are designed either to fool the ref or, if you don’t fool the ref, to make the fans think that the refs made a bad call by not calling it,” Stern said. “That shouldn’t have a place in our game….
“We don’t like to get into a situation where we tell the officials, ‘This is the rule but don’t call so many.’ If there’s a rule to be changed, then we’ll look at it, and I think there will be a robust discussion about an interpretation or an emphasis about how that should or shouldn’t be called.”
Flopping can already be called as a foul and you can train the referees to look for it more. But the problem remains that it is an interpretation call and guys are looking for an edge. There are going to be struggles enforcing this because flops will still get foul calls and some fouls will get called flops. It is not going to be clean.
But they are going to try to do something. David Stern is tired of the talk.
If the Warriors signed someone to a salary greater than the $5,337,000 taxpayer mid-level exception or acquired someone in a sign-and-trade, they would have been hard-capped at $129,817,000 this season.
That was obviously untenable for Golden State with its star-studded roster.
So, the idea of the Warriors adding DeMarcus Cousins seemed far-fetched – even to Golden State general manager Bob Myers.
Myers, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“It was early in the morning — I spoke to his agent. We had been preserving our taxpayer mid-level exception for somebody that might fall through the cracks and not get paid in a very tight free agency market,” Myers explained to Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game. “But mostly we were thinking wings. I figured if something like that were to happen it would happen July 8th, 9th, 10th.
“But we got the call and I just said, ‘Look. We don’t have anything more,’ because we’ve talked about other high-level free agents and the thought from their agent was, ‘Can you do a sign-and-trade? Can you get to a bigger number?’ And I kind of said, ‘Look, our roster is what it is. To move that many pieces around, to create $10 million in room, or $15 (million), it’s just prohibitive, I don’t want to waste your time.’
“So I thought that’s where the conversation was going … and I said to him, ‘We don’t have the money that you’re probably commanding out there.’ And this is the moment it became real — he said, ‘We understand what you have.’ And I said, ‘Well we only have the taxpayer mid-level.’ And then when he said, ‘I know,’ that’s when I knew it was real.
“They were very serious about it and they never really wavered.”
We’ve seen free agency from Cousins’ perspective. It’s interesting to blend Golden State’s into the story.
The Warriors are always eying stars. Their ambition might be unmatched. That not even they forecasted the possibility of signing Cousins – who accepted the taxpayer mid-level exception – speaks to just how much colder than expected his market was.
Joel Embiid issued a warning to pundits after the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton No. 1 overall: “Don’t compare Ayton to me either… I play DEFENSE.”
Ayton envisioned a response to the 76ers star while drawing on a trading card:
I’m impressed with Ayton’s artistic skills.
I’d be even more impressed if he dunks on Embiid, who does play quality defense – so far a hole in Ayton’s game.
In 2015, Dwight Howard said he wanted to play 20 seasons in the NBA. He also later admitted he considered retiring the same year.
After that career crossroads, Howard is back on the longevity track.
Entering his 15th season, the 32-year-old Wizards center is focused on getting into shape and developing his game.
Justin Zormelo, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:
“He wants to evolve into Anthony Davis, into Kevin Durant,” Zormelo says, “but his own version of that.”
This sounds silly at first. Durant and Davis are far more skilled than Howard. But those superstars provide reasonable goals for Howard.
Durant – who has expanded his game the other way, going outside to inside – shows how to blend playing different styles. Davis provides an example of how to work off the ball as a modern big man.
Howard shouldn’t want to lose his strengths as an elite rebounder and interior defender, but he can move in the direction of Durant and Davis.
After getting pretty big with the Hawks, Howard slimmed down with the Hornets and excelled in transition. He also improved significantly as a ball-handler, allowing him to put even more pressure on the defense in advantage situations and attack with face-ups.
Howard hasn’t shown proficiency as an outside shooter, but that could be his next step. The concern: Howard falls in love with shooting the way he did with post-ups, and he takes too many inefficient shots.
But there’s still something encouraging about someone working so hard to improve this far into his career.
Of course, on-court improvement won’t be enough for Howard. He has quietly produced or near star level in Atlanta and Charlotte. The problems came in the locker room. Howard’s attitude must improve, too.
Maybe it’ll all come together for him, and he’ll thrive through the rest of his 30s. He’s saying all the right things.
But we’ve also been here before.
After last season, Carmelo Anthony summed up his time with the Thunder: “It wasn’t no strategy to me being here.” He waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade to and buyout from the Hawks, allowing him to join the Rockets – his preferred destination ever since his time with the Knicks was ending.
But he’s leaving Oklahoma City emphasizing the positive.
Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:
This is a nice letter, especially for someone who was there only one year. Thunder fans are extremely supportive, and I believe Anthony truly wanted it to work in Oklahoma City. He changed his game plenty to complement Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
It just wasn’t enough.
Of course, there’s more to the story. That’s self-evident in Anthony choosing to leave the Thunder rather than trying to solve their problems next season in a less-rushed situation.
But this isn’t an analysis of Anthony’s Oklahoma City tenure. It’s a thank-you note that seems pretty genuine and heartfelt – right until it’s signed “STAYME7o,” which is par for the course for Anthony.