Here's what I wrote during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, when Lance Stephenson — already eyeball-deep in his bag of trolling tricks — decided to turn a fourth-quarter attempt to screen LeBron James in transition into a remarkably blatant attempt to a disqualification-causing sixth foul on the Miami Heat superstar:
Well, here we are.
The NBA announced Thursday that Stephenson has, indeed, been fined $10,000 for violating the league's anti-flopping rules during the Indiana Pacers' Game 5 win. Here's the play in question, in case you missed it or just want to savor the flavor one more time:
The Pacers' shooting guard continues to blaze new trails in the annals of NBA flopping history. Last week, he became the first player fined for flopping this postseason, the first-ever repeat offender when it comes to playoff flopping fines (he also got dinged last May), and the first player to receive three such fines (he was also penalized back in January). Now, he's the first player in league history ever to receive the next-level $10,000 flopping fine. A real boundary-breaker, this Lance fella.
As a reminder, the NBA instituted penalties for flopping before the 2012-13 season. The first regular-season violation brings only a warning, but the second flop carries a $5,000 fine, and penalties escalate from there — $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth, $30,000 for a fifth and "discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension" for anything after that. The NBA also introduced heightened penalties for the playoffs prior to the 2012-13 postseason; the first-flop warning was gone, meaning a first violation carried a $5,000 fine, the second cost $10,000, and so on.
Stephenson is the first player ever to go beyond the lowest level of fine; he's now been fined $15,000 for flopping this year. He's also accrued 17 technical fouls this year, according to ESPN — 14 during the regular season and three during the postseason — which each carrying penalties ($2,000 each for regular-season techs 1 through 5, $3,000 apiece for Nos. 6 through 10, $4,000 each for Nos. 11 through 14; $2,000 each for playoff techs 1 and 2, $3,000 for No. 3). He got ejected from the Pacers' March 26 win over the Heat for getting a second technical while jawing with Dwyane Wade; that's another $2,000 fine, according to the NBA's rulebook.
Add it all up, and you've got $65,000 in total fines for "extracurricular activity" this season. And oh, by the way, while Stephenson figures to get a nice pay bump when he hits unrestricted free agency this summer, he's not there yet — he's making $1,005,000 this season in the final year of the four-year, $3.36 million deal he signed after Indiana selected him in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft. Perhaps not the wisest way to spend your money, but hey, it's not my money.
The 7-foot-2 center's violation came at the 5:18 mark of the fourth quarter:
Yep. That one would've been obvious even if Hibbert wasn't the sort of behemoth who looks like he might perish every time he hits the deck. Better luck next time, Roy.
The only other player to be fined for flopping this postseason is San Antonio Spurs power forward Tiago Splitter, who was fined $5,000 Wednesday.
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