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New flopping rules in place for the 2023-24 season

Betcha Jalen gets a tech.

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Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This upcoming season, you may enjoy your NBA basketball product with less flopping.

In a punitive move against the league’s finest thespians, the NBA Board of Governors voted last July to instate an in-game flopping penalty. This week, Monty McCutchen, senior vice president of referee development and training, explained the changes, per the Athletic. ($)

The new rule states that when a ref whistles a flop, the egregious performer will receive a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul. Anyone presently in the game for the opposing team can attempt one free throw.

Feel free to flop as much as you like, Chris Paul, because a player can’t be ejected for multiple flopping violations. You, too, LeFlop.

If a fantastic flop occurs during significant action (seems likely it might), the referee can wait until a break in play to call the penalty. This will, presumably, deter a player from skating about with pinwheel arms in an attempt to keep his opponent from an easy score.

According to, “After the penalty free throw, the league’s resumption of play principles will apply, meaning that the team with actual or imminent possession when play was stopped will be awarded possession when play resumes.” Another new change: frequent floppers will be monetarily fined, with penalties starting at $2,000.

Yes, New York Knick Jalen Brunson has been accused of embellishing contact on occasion. He is likely to get dinged with a couple of flop-whistles in the upcoming campaign, too.

The rule is being applied as a one-year trial.

Coaches will not be allowed to challenge a flop; however, if the officials spot a flop during a video review, they can assess the tech after the fact.

Defining a flop can be a tricky, subjective thing. The Athletic reports, “The referees have come up with an easy-to-remember acronym to help all involved understand the way flops should be regulated: S.T.E.M. […] Secondary … Theatrical … Exaggerated … Movements.”

McCutchen said that secondary basically means that the player took too long to react to the real or alleged contact. “Theatrical” and “Exaggerated” seem to mean the same thing here (i.e., the player exaggerated in a theatrical way), but if the acronym helps the refs keep things straight, so be it.

Speaking of Coach’s Challenges, there’s a change with those, too. If the team’s first challenge is successful and it still has a timeout available, its coach will be able to call a second challenge.

Again, per the statement from, “For game length and game flow reasons, a team will not retain the timeout used to initiate its second Challenge even if the Challenge is successful.”

Second challenges? Nick Nurse must be steamed.