NBA approves rule change to make flopping a technical foul

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Look out [insert your least favorite NBA player here], flopping is about to come at a real cost.

The NBA Board of Governors approved a rule change that will make flopping a technical foul for the 2023-24 season, the league announced Tuesday, the result of increasing frustrations from fans and teams toward players who go out of their way to sell contact.

The change will come on a one-year trial basis.

Specifically, when a game official calls a flop, defined by the NBA as “a physical act that reasonably appears to be intended to cause the officials to call a foul on another player,” the offending player will be charged with a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul and give the other team one free-throw attempt.

Because of the nature of the technical foul, a player will not be ejected from a game due to flopping violations. Refs will also not have to interrupt play to call a flop, as they can wait until the next stoppage to hit a player with the penalty.

The NBA specifically notes it’s possible for the officials to call both a foul and a flop on the same play.

The league also instituted a change that will give coaches a second challenge if their first challenge is successful.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 18: Referee Scott Foster #48 during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 18, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Clippers 123-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The NBA is giving its officials more power to crack down on flopping. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Flopping was previously punished with a warning, then fines escalating from $5,000 to $30,000. Such punishments were rare. The fines will change now that flopping is a tech, as it will be rolled into the existing fines for technical fouls instead.

The NBA was already trying out this system in the Summer League. Lester Quinones of the Golden State Warriors was the first player to feel the effect, getting called for a flop during a break in play.

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