NBA fines Gobert $75,000 for making another money gesture in frustration over a foul call

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, bottom, during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

NEW YORK (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was fined $75,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for another “inappropriate and unprofessional gesture” that suggested a lack of integrity with the league and its game officials.

Gobert glanced down and rubbed both thumbs together with his fingers as he walked up the court in frustration over a foul call in the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s loss to Denver in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday. Gobert had just been whistled for an offensive foul when the TNT broadcast showed him making the money-counting sign to himself.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said the fine “took into account Gobert’s history of improper conduct toward game officials.”

Two months ago during a regular season game at Cleveland, Gobert was called for a technical after picking up his sixth foul for making the money-counting gesture. One of the officials saw the taunt that time, and Gobert was later fined $100,000.

After that game, Gobert said he was concerned about the rise of betting and believes gambling is having a detrimental impact on outcomes, implicitly accusing officials of being on the take.

“I’ll be the bad guy,” Gobert said then. “I’ll take the fine, but I think it’s hurting our game. I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger.”

The officiating crew on Sunday didn’t appear to notice his less-pronounced version, but the league did.

Ahead of Game 5 in Denver on Tuesday night, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said he understands how Gobert can sometimes get frustrated with the officiating.

“It’s long been the case that big guys in this league, they’re tough to officiate, they really are,” Finch said. “I’m pretty sure Rudy’s taken more shots to the head that haven’t been called or reviewed than most people in the league. You got people intentionally fouling him a lot just to put him on the free throw line, a lot of physicality around there. So, yeah, I’m sure at some point it does get a little bit frustrating for him.”

Then, Finch referenced the $100,000 fine levied against Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray for his actions in Game 2 when he, too, made the money sign, and tossed a towel and a heat pack toward an official.

“I’m disappointed in the gesture, in the fine, for sure,” Finch said of Gobert’s punishment. “But obviously you can’t be showing up the officials like that. But I’d like to see the itemized receipt, because if it’s $75,000 for the money gesture than it must be $10,000 for the towel and $15,000 for the heating pad? So it’s just kind of a little bit of a head scratcher to us, but we’ll wait to see.”


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