Lakers flip-flop over flopping rule

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that it didn’t take long for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to come up with a Laurel & Hardy-like repartee.

However, the subject matter of Nash & Howard’s first comedy act after Wednesday’s Los Angeles Lakers practice didn’t seem like laugh-track material.

The NBA announced its new anti-flopping rule on Wednesday, which will penalize players financially after the fact for flopping, based on video review, and, well ... we’ll let Nash & Howard take it away from here:

Howard: “Me and Steve had a play like that today. He flopped and he got away with it, so he should be getting fined.”

(Howard yells over to Nash who is standing in a separate media scrum about 10 feet away.)

Howard: “Steve, you’re fined. I just got off the phone with David Stern.”

Nash: “There’s no video tape in here! … “Sorry, buddy, you’re not going to win this one.”

Howard: “Well, there’s no evidence of the flop, so the NBA rescinded it.”

Not exactly the stuff that will garner the Mark Twain Prize, but perhaps the bigger joke was on the NBA on Wednesday, as no one within the Lakers could seem to agree on whether the rule change would be an effective deterrent against floppers or not.

Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace agreed that flops were embarrassing.

Bryant: “Shameless flopping, that’s a chump move.”

World Peace: “Flopping is very stupid. It’s not even basketball. I don’t know who taught people how to flop.”

Yet, their overall stance on the rule change varied greatly.

Bryant and Pau Gasol both suggested that in lieu of a fine, technical fouls should be doled out during the course of a game to really have an impact on how players conduct themselves, similar to how international basketball is officiated.

For Howard, who led the league in technicals in 2010-11 with 18, Ts certainly weren’t the way to go.

“There shouldn’t be any techs given,” Howard said. “I think once you give guys techs for flopping, it’s just more money, it really hurts the team and it hurts them later on in the year. I’ve experienced getting a lot of technical fouls, and it’s not a good thing.”

World Peace put the onus on the referees to ignore floppers, swallow the whistle and give the advantage to the offensive player to continue unimpeded to the hoop while the defender who flopped is on the floor.

“You can’t blame the players for adjusting to how they’re reffing the game,” World Peace said. “Now you can’t just take somebody’s money for adjusting to how (the referees) adjusted the rules.”

And Lakers coach Mike Brown just didn’t like the rule at all, questioning how it can be properly enforced after the fact.

“I think it’s tough to determine that,” Brown said. “Because watching it on tape, do you really know if a guy is flopping or not? It’s a subjective call.”

Brown, who has benefitted from having a couple notorious floppers on his teams in the past (Anderson Varejao in Cleveland Cavaliers and Derek Fisher in L.A. come to mind), doesn’t feel like the rule will have an impact on this year’s Lakers squad.

“We should never get fined, because we don’t have any floppers on our team,” Brown said. “That’s all I’m worried about.”

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.