The NBA announced Tuesday that Bulls center Joakim Noah has been fined $15,000 for "verbally abusing the officials" after he was ejected from Chicago's 99-70 road loss to Sacramento on Monday.
Noah, who is on the books for $11.1 million this season, was not suspended for disputing a foul call and using profane language while pointing at each of the three officials before he left the court. He will be available when Chicago visits Phoenix on Tuesday.
The heated exchange took place with Sacramento leading 51-40 with just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. Kings guard Marcus Thornton launched a three-pointer from the left corner, and Noah was called for a foul as he battled with DeMarcus Cousins for rebounding position. Replays indicated that Noah hadn't done anything to deserve the foul, and he immediately reacted with confusion and frustration, turning both of his palms up and rushing towards the Bulls' bench. Noah's teammates were similarly confused by the call.
Once Noah confirmed that the foul was indeed assessed to him, he shouted angrily in the direction of the officials, even as Kirk Hinrich attempted to defuse the situation. Noah then spun around, pointed his finger directly at referee Eli Roe and appeared to shout profanity in the official's face. He then proceeded to point and scream at referees David Guthrie and Rodney Mott before Carlos Boozer and a team official could intervene and direct him off the court towards the locker room.
Noah, who was selected as a 2014 All-Star reserve last week, departed at the 7:39 mark after receiving two technical fouls, leaving with four points (on 1-for-6 shooting), four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.
Following the game, Noah apologized for his behavior.
“I’m really disappointed,” Noah said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I shouldn’t have acted that way. I apologize. I’m sorry to all three referees out there. They’re out there trying to do their jobs and I should never have said the things that I said. I hope they accept my apology and I hope I can move on from this. ... I was frustrated with the call, but it doesn’t give me the right to do what I did. I deserve to get ejected, and it was just a bad decision on my part.’’
Sacramento went on to claim an easy victory in Noah's absence, holding Chicago to just 13 fourth-quarter points and 28.2 percent shooting for the game. Chicago dropped to 23-24 with the loss.
Noah is the first person to be fined by the league office since Adam Silver succeeded David Stern as commissioner on Saturday.
Video via YouTube user beyondthebuzzercom