The 10 Biggest Fines In the NBA History: Penalties That Cost Basketball Teams A Fortune

nbaFines are pretty much a normal occurrence in the world of professional basketball. In the NBA, the world’s biggest and most watched basketball league, hearing teams and players getting penalized for untoward behavior and crazy antics, even if not basketball related, are not at all surprising. But some fines do burst through the proverbial ceiling because of the outrageous cost and for more outrageous reasons. Here are the 10 biggest fines tn the NBA history.

#10 San Antonio Spurs – $250,000

Reason: Did not field its star players


In a regular season game back in 2012 versus the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to go with his second unit and did not bring his elite players Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green. Then NBA Commissioner David Stern was not amused and deemed the act as “a disservice to the league and fans” and decided to make the Spurs pay to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars.

Resting star players is a common practice in the NBA, which makes the decision, as much as the penalty itself, quite controversial.

#9 Latrell Sprewell (NYK) – $250,000

Reason: Failed to report a fractured hand

Energetic and extremely talented, Latrell Sprewell is also known for being a volatile character. Back when he was still pro playing for the New York Knicks, Sprewell decided to keep his fractured hand a secret, but it would soon cause him to be out of commission for six weeks. Sprewell said he obtained the injury during the offseason. Enraged by the deception, the New York Knicks placed a $250,000 fine on Sprewell, which remains the biggest fine placed by a team on its player.

#8 Damon Stoudamire (POR) – $250,000

Reason: Possession of drugs and illegal substances

Being the star point guard for the Portland Trailblazers, Damon Stoudamire was a figure everyone looked up to. But after getting arrested for marijuana possession three times in 2003, the NBA management had to do something. And nobody argued the $250,000 fine hurled by the league on Stoudamire. On top of that, the Portland organization also suspended its star player and encouraged him to get professional help.

#7 Aubrey McClendon (SEA) – $250,000

Reason: Leaking confidential franchise decisions

Back in 2007, Seattle Supersonics co-owner Aubrey McClendon leaked the plan to move the Supersonics franchise from Seattle to Oklahoma. Fans were outraged by the proposed move but no one was enraged more than NBA commissioner David Stern, who was more than happy to slap McClendon a huge $250,000 penalty for disclosing crucial information.

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#6 Portland Trailblazers – $250,000

Reason: Communicating with college undergraduates


The NBA is very strict with its rule of non-communication between teams and college players. This policy is strictly enforced but many teams have been getting around it even at this day. It seems like the $250,000 fine placed by the NBA on the Portland Trailblazers back in 1984 when the team got in touch with Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, who at the time (1984) were undergrads from Georgetown didn’t help much.

#5 Micky Arison (MIA) – $250,000

Reason: Tweeting unofficial statements during lockout period


Miami Heat owner Micky Arison learned that tweeting is a bad thing. Especially when you publicly call the NBA management a bunch of “greedy bastards” who made “stupid decisions.” This all transpired during the 2011 NBA lockout. The league officials reminded Arison that team owners and players have limitations as to what they can and they can’t say in public – by slapping him with an expensive $250,000 penalty.

#4 Vladimir Radmanović (LAL) – $500,000

Reason: Snowboarding


Probably the most ridiculous reason for getting a $500,000 fine, but back in 2007, LA Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic was actually slapped with such a penalty for snowboarding. Doing some other physical activity would have been fine, but the NBA has this rule in place that snowboarding or any other extreme sports are “no go zones” for their players. The league officials argued that players should not enter into any physical activities that will put their health at a significant risk.

#3 New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets – $500,000

Reason: Brawling


On December 16, 2006, the visiting Denver Nuggets were on the verge of humiliating the New York Knicks at their home court when Nuggets’ JR Smith was fouled hard by Mardy Collins. Smith fell to the ground and soon got up and exchanged heated words with Collins. Nate Robinson joined the fray, who was then tackled by Smith. Carnage ensued. The result? All players who were at the court were suspended, each team were fined $500,000, and seven players got suspended for a total of 47 games

#2 Mark Cuban (DAL) – $500,000

Reason: Over criticism of referee officiating

Mark Cuban may not be the champion of fair play, but when something’s wrong with the referees, the courtside officials, and even the top honcho David Stern, he is not the one who shies away from dropping multiple f-bombs just to get the message across. And for his unadulterated approach of venting his thoughts, Cuban has been fined $250,000 on two separate occasions. The first one was in after his 2001, after Dallas Mavericks suffered a 107-104 loss to the Pistons. The second one came in 2006 after Game 5 of the NBA Finals due to his several acts of misconduct against officials.

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#1 Minnesota Timberwolves – $3.5 million

Reason: Tweaking the salary cap


The salary cap was put into place so that all teams can have a fair field of play when it comes to acquiring star players. This prevents the more financially capable organizations to monopolize talented players and gives the lesser teams the opportunity to fill their roster with elite ballers. But in 2000, the Minnesota Timberwolves were found to engage in under the table deals with Joe Smith. Smith agreed to accept a contract deemed below his market value with the promise of a multi-million agreement in the future. This move allowed Minnesota to acquire more talented players to their fold. The NBA discovered this and slapped the Wolves with the most expensive fine in NBA history.

Category: Financial News

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