By Ben Golliver
The NBA has fined Rockets center Omer Asik $5,000 for his second violation of the league's anti-flopping policy on Thursday. Asik's first violation came on Dec. 11.
Asik is the fifth player to receive a fine under the league's anti-flopping guidelines, which allow one free warning before assessing fines, joining Nets forwards Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace, Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea and Thunder guard Kevin Martin.
Asik's second flop came with a little less than five minutes remaining in the second quarter of a 96-95 win over the Spurs in Houston on Sunday night. Spurs forward/center Tim Duncan tried to create space by clearing Asik off of him using his left arm as the two big men jockeyed for position in the high post. After receiving what appeared to be light contact, Asik flung his head backwards and then stumbled 180 degrees into a spin that nearly took him to the court. Duncan was whistled for the offensive foul and replays showed that Asik's flailing was inconsistent with the minimal level of contact.
This flop was similar to one performed by Hawks forward Josh Smith in the league’s official video introducing its flopping policy, although the example involved a rebounding situation rather than an establishing of position. During that play, Smith, attempting to grab a defensive rebound, fell quickly to the ground while fighting for a rebound with Celtics forward Paul Pierce after getting pushed in the back.
“As the highlighted defensive player prepares for a potential rebound, he feels slight contact from his opponent in his back,” the narrator explains. “He then falls forward and collapses to the floor in an obvious over-embellishment. The actions of the player in the white uniform are inconsistent with the level of contact on the play and is designed to draw an unearned loose ball foul on his opponent. Again, this flop will be penalized.”
Asik's first flop also occurred during a remarkably similar exchange with Duncan back in December. Asik battled for rebounding position with Duncan, who was basket-side and about to secure the ball when Asik, reaching over and past him, quickly fell backwards as if he had been elbowed in the head. Duncan was called for a loose ball foul. Replays indicated that Duncan’s elbow made minimal contact with Asik underneath his shoulder area and that the head flail was completely unnecessary.
All told, 16 players have been warned this season: Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, Clippers guard Chris Paul, Kings guard Tyreke Evans, Nuggets forward Corey Brewer, Spurs guard Tony Parker, Sixers guard Royal Ivey, Magic center Gustavo Ayon, Asik, Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Wallace, Rockets forward Patrick Patterson, Evans, Martin, Barea and Cavaliers guard Donald Sloan.
Asik will now be subject to further fines if he is deemed to have violated the policy again. The sliding fine scale looks like this.
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
For a sixth (or any subsequent) violation of the rule, the player will be subject to such discipline as the League determines is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
Asik, 26, is averaging 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.1 block per game for the Rockets this season. He’s on the books for $8.4 million.
Video via YouTube user BasketInfos