The NBA announced Wednesday that Celtics forward Jared Sullinger has been issued a warning for flopping.
Sullinger's flop occurred midway through the second quarter of Boston's 109-85 road loss to Houston on Tuesday. With the Rockets leading 52-29, Sullinger battled for rebounding position with Dwight Howard as Jeremy Lin put up a shot. As Howard sought better position by leaning on him, Sullinger simply let his body go, launching himself backwards to the court and flailing his head as if he had been shoved. Howard was whistled for a foul on the play.
Video of the sequence can be viewed on NBA.com.
This type of flop was specifically called out in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, then-Hawks forward Josh Smith fell quickly to the ground while fighting for a rebound with then-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.”
Sullinger becomes the tenth player warned by the league for flopping this season, joining Wizards guard John Wall, Timberwolves forwards Kevin Love and Corey Brewer, Spurs guard Patty Mills, Bucks center Zaza Pachulia, Rockets guard James Harden, Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, Clippers guard Chris Paul and Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao. No warnings were handed out during the preseason. Harden has also been fined $5,000 for a second violation.
Instituted before the 2012-13 season, the NBA's anti-flopping system provides one free warning to players before they are subjected to a scaling set of monetary fines.
- Violation 1: Warning
- Violation 2: $5,000 fine
- Violation 3: $10,000 fine
- Violation 4: $15,000 fine
- Violation 5: $30,000 fine
- Violation 6: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension
The NBA assigned 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams during the 2012-13 regular season. Five players received two infractions each, earning fines totaling $25,000, with zero players getting dinged three or more times.
During the 2013 playoffs, the NBA removed the free warning and began assessing fines. Although commissioner David Stern said that the league's current policy "isn't enough" to curb the practice, the league did not adopt any changes to the policy during the offseason.
The NBA defines flopping as "any physical act that, following review, reasonably appears to be intended to cause the game officials to call a foul on another player" with the “primary factor” in determining a flop being whether “a player’s physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”
Sullinger finished with 10 points (on 4-for-10 shooting) and nine rebounds in 22 minutes. Back in October, Sullinger was suspended for one game by the Celtics for his role in an alleged domestic dispute that resulted in his arrest.