NBA fines Rudy Gobert $100,000 for ‘inappropriate and unprofessional gesture’ toward official

Timberwolves center flashes a money sign toward officials after getting called for sixth foul vs. Cavaliers

(Sue Ogrocki | AP) Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with referee Natalie Sago (9) after being called for a technical foul in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, March 8, 2024, in Cleveland.

The NBA fined Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert $100,000 — the largest fine issued to a player not suspended this season — for suggesting league referees were influenced by sports betting Friday night after a 113-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The fine, levied by league vice president and chief disciplinarian Joe Dumars and announced through a news release, also covered Gobert’s flashing the money sign with both hands toward refs after he was whistled for his sixth foul late in the fourth quarter.

Gobert explained his gesture, which drew a technical and led to a game-tying free throw from the Cavaliers, as “the truth — it’s what I truly believe.”

“Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, too. But sometimes I think it’s more than mistakes. I think everyone that’s in this league knows. I think it’s got to get better,” Gobert said after the game. “I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn’t feel that way.”

The league said Gobert’s past critical statements of officials were considered when determining the cost of the fine. Criticizing officials typically comes with a fine of between $10,000 and $30,000 for players, though Gobert’s teammate Anthony Edwards was fined $40,000 for blasting the refs in January.

Gobert is lucky he didn’t get suspended, given the severity of the insinuation. He will be in Los Angeles on Sunday night with the Wolves when they battle the Lakers.

Gobert, who is 31 and in his 11th NBA season, is averaging 13.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for Minnesota (44-20), which is a half-game behind Oklahoma City in the Western Conference.

The last player to be fined $100,000 without being suspended was James Harden in August for saying he would not perform the services he called for under his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers — who he was playing for then.

Suspended players are also “fined” — their lost game checks go to NBA-sponsored charities. Those fines are almost always north of $100,000.