Nowitzki's flop occurred with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter of Dallas's 110-96 home loss to Denver on Monday night. With the Nuggets leading 81-74, Nowitzki lined up a three-point attempt from the top of the arc. As he released the shot, which missed long, Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur closed out to contest without making contact. Nevertheless, Nowitzki landed with both feet on the court and launched his upper body backwards, eventually sprawling out near midcourt. His intent seemed to be to simulate contact from Arthur that could have come to his body during the release or with his feet by sliding in underneath Nowitzki before he landed. No foul was called on the play.
Video of the sequence can be seen above or on NBA.com.
This type of flop was specifically called out in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, Heat guard Dwyane Wade was called out for exaggerating contact to his leg during his jump shot.
“After releasing the jump shot, the shooter, No. 3 in the white uniform, extends his right leg attempting to draw a defensive foul,” the video’s narrator explains. “While there is marginal contact on the play, the flail and spin to the floor by the offensive player is an overembellishment and it’s inconsistent with marginal contact.”
Nowitzki becomes the eleventh 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, Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao and Celtics forward Jared Sullinger. 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.”