Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been fined $35,000 for making an inappropriate gesture towards an official during Wednesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors, the NBA announced Friday. The moment came with mere seconds remaining in the game. Doncic attempted a layup that could have cut the Dallas deficit down to a single point. He missed, and he didn't get a foul call as Golden State recovered the ball and secured the 127-125 victory. As Doncic ran back up the court, he rubbed his fingers together toward an official, making the unofficial cash gesture.
Luka Doncic makes the money motion at the referee after a no-call late vs. the Warriors 😳💰 pic.twitter.com/MJnjIvdyO1— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 23, 2023
This was far from the only controversial moment in the game involving officiating. In the third quarter, the Warriors were awarded the ball after it had gone out of bounds, but the Mavericks mistook a signal for a mandatory timeout as the ball being awarded to them, and therefore assumed that it would be their ball after the timeout. The Warriors scored an easy basket, and the Mavericks are protesting the result of the game based on the bizarre moment.
The relationship between players and officials has always been precarious, but this season, it appears to have reached a new low. Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet recently criticized official Ben Taylor by name and was fined for it. Anthony Davis has suggested fines for officials after bad calls, and Trae Young recently echoed that message. At one point earlier in the season, the officials used their Twitter account to apologize for mistakes made during games. VanVleet's criticism of Taylor went beyond that, suggesting personal bias. Other players are known to have similar issues with different referees.
This is a problem that the NBA is going to have to address in the near future. Officiating has never been perfect and it never will be, but the storylines following big games have increasingly revolved around a few bad whistles. Clearly, that's wearing thin on the players, and while the NBA can fine them to limit such public dissent, more work needs to be done to get to the root of the problem.