Tucker's flop occurred in the second quarter of Phoenix's 103-97 home loss to Miami on Tuesday. With a little less than a minute remaining before halftime and Phoenix leading 46-43, Tucker fell to the floor in transition after absorbing contact from Heat forward LeBron James.
The two players were running stride for stride and they came together near mid-court as the Heat looked to press an advantage on the fast break. Tucker fell hard to the court after receiving a shoulder from James. The play led to a foul call on James and negated a potential scoring opportunity for the Heat. Replays indicated that there was contact between the two players but Tucker appeared to fall at an angle and with a force that was inconsistent with the degree of contact.
This type of flop was specifically brought up in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, then-Celtics big man Ryan Hollins flew to the ground during an inbounding situation, pretending to have been shoved by Sixers guard Evan Turner as he worked to receive the pass from out of bounds.
“The highlighted defensive player on this play, No. 50 in the white uniform, gets entangled with the offensive player who is moving to receive the inbounds pass,” the video’s narrator explains. “The defender then throws himself backward to the floor, simulating that he was pushed down on the play. This was an unreasonable embellishment by the defensive player designed to draw an unearned offensive foul on his opponent.”
Earlier this season, Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer was warned for flopping against James. The league's back-to-back MVP also accused Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko of flopping against him back in January, although no warning was issued. James has yet to be warned for flopping during the 2013-14 season, but he was fined for a flop during the 2013 playoffs.
Tucker becomes the 24th player warned for flopping this season, joining Wizards guard John Wall, Timberwolves forwards Kevin Love and 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, Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, Warriors forward/center Marreese Speights, Sixers guard Tony Wroten, Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Heat guard Mario Chalmers, Bucks guard Brandon Knight and Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin.
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.”