LeBron James says he understands flopping can give teams competitive advantage

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LeBron James says he doesn't 'need to flop,' but he understand the value it provides. (David Banks/Getty Images)

LeBron James understands flopping can provide a competitive advantage

By any means necessary, that's LeBron James' motto these days as he searches for another NBA championship ring.

So while not a flopper himself, James understands the value that exaggerating contact can provide to a team (via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com).

"Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage," James said Monday, a day after the Heat grabbed a 2-1 series lead over the Pacers in the Eastern finals.  "Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it."

Indiana has other thoughts on the subject. Coach Frank Vogel has been public in his opposition to the strategy ("I think it's well documented. I'm not for flopping," Vogel said.) and singled out the Heat as a flopping team prior to their matchup in the conference semis last season. "They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA," Vogel told reporters. "Flopping is a problem in this league. ... Miami certainly has some guys who do a lot of it. I just don't think it's good for the game in general." The comments earned Vogel a $15,000 fine from the league.

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James came under fire in the previous round, when Bulls guard Nate Robinson and coach Tom Thibodeau singled the star out for what they believed was a flop in Game 3 of the Bulls-Heat series. “From my angle, I just saw a guy, basically, flop,” Thibodeau said of the play in question in which Nazr Mohammed shoved James to the floor. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

James vehemently denied the claim. “I don’t need to flop,” he said. “I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys."

The 2012-13 regular-season MVP has not received a warning or fine this season under the NBA’s new anti-flopping policy, which aims to curb the most egregious simulations and over-exaggerations. This season, he attempted 535 free throws, sixth-most in the NBA, trailing only James Harden, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook.