On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers won their first game in regulation since Feb. 4, when they beat the Denver Nuggets 114-93 at Staples Center. Friday’s win also capped off a perfect five-game homestand for them. However, the game itself was marred by controversy.
In the second quarter of the game, James got free throws for what appeared to be a flop on his part. Those free throws cut the Memphis Grizzlies’ lead to 11 points and gave Dillon Brooks his second foul.
On Saturday, the NBA confirmed that James flopped and they announced that he received a warning for violating the league’s anti-flopping policy.
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James received a warning for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule Feb. 12 vs. Memphis. pic.twitter.com/NovQbnBEE0— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) February 13, 2021
Kyle Kuzma also got a warning for flopping for a play that occurred in fourth quarter. Kuzma didn’t draw the foul on Brooks, but the NBA felt a warning still needed to be issued to the 25-year-old forward.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma received a warning for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule Feb. 12 vs. Memphis. pic.twitter.com/JOxWpWWfwr— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) February 13, 2021
Both James and Kuzma’s warnings are considered a first offense by the NBA. If the violate the league’s anti-flopping rules again, they will get slapped with a $5,000 fine. Here’s a full breakdown of the financial consequences for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules, per official.nba.com:
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
For a sixth (or any subsequent) violation of the rule, the player will be subject to such discipline as the League determines is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
James was fined $5,000 for flopping during Game 4 of the Miami Heat’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Indiana Pacers in 2013. Prior to that fine, he had never been fined for flopping and he hasn’t been fined for flopping since, which is surprising when you consider the reputation that he has.
James, who is making $39.2 million this season, can probably live with a tampering fine, but in the spirit of good sportsmanship, it’s probably best that he doesn’t make it a habit — and if he does, he can at least do a better job of making it look natural. I mean, he is an actor, right?