Dirk Nowitzki: Rule 'a bunch of crap'

Updated: October 5, 2012, 9:46 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

Count Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and owner Mark Cuban among those who believe the NBA's new plan to fine repeated floppers could be, well, a flop.

The plan calls for players to get a warning the first time the league determines they flop in an attempt to influence a foul call, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for the fifth. Six or more could lead to a suspension.

"I never looked at myself as a big flopper," Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News while the Mavericks are practicing in Germany. "If you play me physical then, obviously, I've got to sell the call and get to the (free throw) line. That's just part of the game. We'll have to see how they enforce that.

"I think it's a bunch of crap to be honest with you. Are they going to come back after a game and fine you for flopping? That's tough to do, to me."

Cuban, an often vocal critic of NBA officiating over the years, believes the league's new plan to fine repeated floppers could have "unintended consequences."

"It depends on whether or not it changes how flopping in game is called," Cuban replied to ESPNDallas.com in an email from Berlin. "If it just causes the refs to give floppers the benefit of the doubt knowing the league can deal with it after the fact, it could have some unintended consequences.

"A big question is going to be how much depth of explanation is going to be given when a fine is [assessed] and whether or not the league will enforce teams paying the fines for the players who get caught flopping."

Cuban considers the probability of incessant questioning from the media about the flopping issue -- such as soliciting postgame opinions from players and coaches about specific plays and follow-ups in the ensuing days about whether the league has made a ruling -- to be the "biggest downside" to the fine system.

"Hey, sometimes they put in new rules, and you look and you say, 'Hey, this rule really helped our sport,'" Nowitzki told the Morning News. "And some rules don't and they get thrown out pretty quick because they're not enforceable.

"We'll see how it goes and how guys adjust. I don't think it's a big deal. We'll just play the regular game like we always have. I'm not really worried about anything. I'm just going to go out there like I always play."

Cuban also has some advice for officials on the telltale signs of a flop intended to draw a charge.

"The one thing the NBA should do, but of course it won't, is to make it so an offensive foul is NOT called if a guy falls on his butt," Cuban wrote in his email. "The biomechanics of force and resistance don't cause you to fall flat on your butt on contact, unless the defender intends to fall on his butt upon contact.

"So if you see charges called because a guy lands on his ass, you know nothing has really changed. If the 'look at me, I'm on the floor' gets you nothing but a smirk, you know the rules are working."

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