David Stern believes penalty for flopping needs to be toughened

NBA commissioner David Stern addresses the media before NBA commissioner David Stern addresses the media before Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs at AmericanAirlines Arena. (June 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

advertisement | advertise on newsday

MIAMI - NBA commissioner David Stern said the league's anti-flopping policy might need some revamping, considering how prevalent flopping has been during these playoffs.

This was the first year the policy of fining players for flopping was instituted. The Heat's LeBron James and the Pacers' David West and Lance Stephenson were fined $5,000 each for flopping in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

"It isn't enough,'' Stern said before the Spurs and Heat met in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night. "It isn't enough. 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.''

When Stern, presiding over his last NBA Finals as commissioner, was asked how it can be stopped, he said it's up to the Competition Committee to decide how far the penalties should be taken.

"We knew flopping was going to be less than perfect,'' Stern said. "The point was to do it gently, look at all the flops -- and there have been plenty -- and penalize the most egregious gently. We could end that immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a little draconian at the moment.''

Stern also was asked if he regrets his decision to fine the Spurs $250,000 in November for deciding to rest key players Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green in a nationally televised game against Miami.

"The simple answer is no,'' Stern said. "Next question.''

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been known to rest his players to keep them fresh for the playoffs, and in this case it worked -- they're in the Finals. But he also sent them back home to San Antonio.

After a few moments passed, Stern decided to comment further.

"Pop is a great coach, a Hall of Famer and a visionary,'' Stern said. "But on this one, he wasn't resting Danny Green. It was a game that was being played. I know it, you know it and he knows it.

"And maybe the game is successful, but I do think we have some obligation to our fans to come up with some system, despite the disclaimers of our owners, that has some kind of guarantee that if you buy a ticket for a particular team, that you might see a representative sample of that team.''

Stern will retire on Feb. 1, 2014, exactly 30 years after he became commissioner, and said he's happy with his final Finals series.

"I would say this is probably the most anticipated Finals in who knows, 30 years,'' Stern said. "We expect to have a heck of a series, probably the best I could expect for my last Finals.''

You also may be interested in: