Stern looking to make big rule changes with new committee

You know what they say: if you’re not getting your way, form special committees to do your bidding. Ok, maybe nobody says that, but that’s what NBA commissioner David Stern is doing.

Stern has made a special “competition committee” that will take rule-making decisions out of the hands of the league’s 30 General Managers, and place it in the hands of a group selected by Stern consisting of GMs, owners and coaches.

“Stern is looking for more control,” said a source. “He hasn’t been able to get some things done because he’s had to deal with 30 general managers and he can’t control them. But now he has his people on the committee.”

The committee consists of: owners Dan Gilbert (Cleveland) and Joe Lacob (Golden State); GMs Bryan Colangelo (Toronto), Mitch Kupchak (L.A. Lakers), Kevin O’Connor (Utah) and Sam Presti (Oklahoma City); and coaches Rick Carlisle (Dallas), Lionel Hollins (Memphis) and Doc Rivers (Boston).

The GMs will still get to vote, but in the past, rule changes wouldn’t even make it to a vote unless they wanted a change. This will make it easier for Stern to get things accomplished. The committee is expected to take a look at two big rule changes right away: goaltending and flopping.

Stern wants to adopt the international rule for goaltending where you can knock the ball off the rim or backboard without it being counted as a bucket. After watching some international basketball, it takes some getting used to and the players will have to make some adjustments, but I’m not opposed to the idea.

In terms of flopping, Stern wants to implement fines and even suspensions for players who do a little more acting than playing. He says he’s tried to sell this idea before but got shot down.

“I think it’s time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way, because it’s only designed to fool the referee,” Stern told ABC during Game 1 of the Heat-Pacers semifinal series. “It’s not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there’s contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies.”

I’m interested to see how Stern wants to enforce this. Yes, there are some blatant flops in the NBA, but how do you train a ref to look for that? And if you decide to just punish after the game is over, that doesn’t make up for a missed call during the game. Flopping is such an arbitrary judgment call that this type of rule change will be very tough to enforce. I definitely would like to see less acting and more playing, but the NBA may be taking on more than they can handle here. Imagine how many players would want to appeal a suspension for flopping. This has the potential to get out of hand.