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James, West, Stephenson fined for flopping
The fines are basically nominal given the salaries of NBA players. Stephenson makes just over $900,000 this season, while West makes $10 million and James makes about $17 million in playing salary, plus an estimated $40 million more in endorsements.
“Five thousand dollars is a lot of money,” West said. “I don’t care how much money you’re making.”
Steve Kerr, working the game as an analyst for TNT, said flopping has “been apparent throughout the series but I think it got worse” during Game 4.
James was voted to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team, but Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau accused him of flopping after a play during the Heat’s second-round series victory over the Bulls. The play with West came not long after James said flopping was “not even a bad thing, you’re just trying to get the advantage.”
Kerr said flopping was “unbecoming of star players.”
“To me, flopping is sort of the territory of guys who are just trying to hang onto their position in the league and they have to find their way to be successful and productive somehow,” he said in a phone interview before the penalties were announced.
“So if Battier and (Tyler) Hansbrough are going to flop a little bit because that’s how they’re going to impact the game right now, I’m probably more willing to give them a pass than when I see David West and LeBron falling all over each other in the post, two of the best players in the league.”
Players were given a warning for a first offense during the regular season but are fined for the first flop in the postseason.
The plays can be seen at nba.com/official.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.
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