As much as we love the game of basketball, we have to remember this is a business. Like the game of basketball, a business has rules too. There are rules and expectations for their business and the CEO, in this case, the commissioner and the rest of the league executives, must follow their version of Parliament.
When you break the rules, there are consequences. The difference is that the consequences involve a stipend of money. Some players lost more money than others this season. Two players worked their way into losing millions of dollars during the 2021-22 season. Some players managed to escape with minimal damage.
These are the highest fined players from each NBA team:
Atlanta Hawks - Trae Young ($72,000)
To no surprise, the outspoken superstar from the Hawks racked up the most fines. Out of the team’s $92,000 in fines by the team, Young racked up all but $20,000. His biggest fine of the season was $15,000 when he made contact with an official. Among other fines, he racked up 19 technical fouls.
Boston Celtics - Jayson Tatum ($37,000)
One might have thought that Marcus Smart would have earned this recognition, but it was the team’s best player. Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, is known for saying what is on his mind and playing hard. However, Tatum’s 14 technical fouls added up over time.
Brooklyn Nets - Kyrie Irving ($13,272,516)
While some players rack up fines through technical fouls, it was Irving that blew away his teammates in this domain. Irving missed 36 games due to not getting the vaccine, which came out to $13.2 million in lost money. He also was fined $50,000 for an obscene gesture at the Celtics crowd. Out of all the players on this list, Irving was fined the second-most money.
Charlotte Hornets - Miles Bridges ($64,000)
Montrezl Harrell gave Bridges a run for his money by being fined $42,000, which included one fight. With that said, it was Bridges that was fined $50,000 for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands, which resulted in striking a fan. Bridges apologized for the incident, but it wasn’t enough to wipe the fine away.
Chicago Bulls - Tristan Thompson ($34,000)
When the Bulls acquired Thompson, they had in mind that Thompson would be the enforcer the team needed. With that title, it can come at an expense. Thompson didn’t play the full season with the Bulls but still managed to lead the team in penalties. His highest fine came when he directed profanity at an official, which resulted in $20,000.
Cleveland Cavaliers - Darius Garland ($8,000)
It’s funny. The players didn’t lead the team in fines. It was the coach. J. B. Bickerstaff was fined two different times to lead the franchise with $35,000 in fines. As for the players, the team kept to themselves. Garland was fined for a handful of technical fouls.
Dallas Mavericks - Trey Burke ($137,544)
Luka Doncic recorded 16 technical fouls this season, but Doncic did not lead the team in fines. That was given to Burke, who missed four games due to health and safety protocols. It can be assumed that Burke was fined for missing games due to not being vaccinated.
Denver Nuggets - Nikola Jokic ($247,417)
The MVP of the league has a reputation for not backing down from anyone. The majority of his fines came from being suspended in one game. That also included the $6,000 total in money he received from an ejection for shoving Markieff Morris to the ground in a game with the Heat.
Detroit Pistons - Isaiah Stewart ($51,201)
Hamidou Diallo recorded a fine for contact with an official, which cost him $20,000, but Stewart lost the most money. Stewart’s issue came with a run-in with LeBron James, where he had to be restrained multiple times from running at him. Stewart was suspended for two games due to the altercation, which cost Stewart about $45,000.
Golden State Warriors - Draymond Green ($102,000)
If you look at the list of fined players in Golden State, one will see Green’s name listed many times. The two highest fines were $25,000 apiece. One was an obscene gesture, while the other was an offense directed at the official. Green holds an honor that we already knew he owned thanks to his numerous technical fouls.
Houston Rockets - Christian Wood ($94,253)
Wood was fined just one time, but the amount was hefty enough to claim this title. Wood was punished for failing to show up for the team's daily COVID-19 testing, which caused a delay in a shootaround. Then he showed little inclination to check into a game. The team did not like his behavior, so they suspended him for one game.
Indiana Pacers - Jalen Smith ($26,000)
Smith was fined a total of $6,000 for an ejection, where he received two technical fouls in one game. He also was fined for contact with an official. Smith received more playing time when Domantas Sabonis was traded. However, he never received a pay increase, so this was quite a bit of money for someone on his first contract.
Los Angeles Clippers - Marcus Morris Sr. ($24,000)
It was a pretty even-keeled season for the Clippers because Patrick Beverley was no longer on the team. Morris was ejected in two games, which resulted in half of his fines. Morris is a very vocal player, but this is a modest fine total compared to past Clipper players.
Los Angeles Lakers - LeBron James ($301,004)
James was fined $284,000 for being suspended one game for his altercation with Isaiah Stewart. He was fined another $15,000 for an obscene gesture, and he was fined $2,000 for an ejection. Russell Westbrook racked up plenty of technical fouls during the season, but it was not enough to total the one-game suspension cost that James received.
Memphis Grizzlies - Dillon Brooks ($121,138)
Brooks was suspended $54,128 for a one-game suspension, one that he received in the playoffs for his foul on Gary Payton Jr. Outside of that, it was head coach Taylor Jenkins that received a $15,000 fine for his comments about officials. The Grizzlies had some players get a few technical fouls here and there, but Brooks’ foul forced him to empty his pockets.
Miami Heat - Jimmy Butler ($65,000)
This was a close battle with Markieff Morris, who was fined $50,000 for his involvement with Nikola Jokic. With that said, Butler had a $30,000 fine for entering a fighting area. Butler was fined despite not fighting, but because he entered the area, he was given a fine. He also was fined $15,000 for an obscene gesture. With his technical foul amount, he took the lead for the highest fined player.
Milwaukee Bucks - Grayson Allen ($31,963)
Bobby Portis was narrowly defeated for this title. Portis accumulated numerous fouls to net him $30,000 in total fines. However, Allen’s hard foul on Alex Caruso, which forced the Bulls guard to miss playing time, cost Allen a one-game suspension. That suspension cost Allen about $27,000.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Patrick Beverley ($87,000)
Weren’t we just talking about how the Clippers seemed tame this year? Beverley joined the Timberwolves after last year and became a veteran voice in the locker room that the team needed. However, some baggage comes with Beverley, who was fined $50,000 combined for fighting and inappropriate language.
New Orleans Pelicans - Didi Louzada ($406,109)
Among fined players, Brandon Ingram picked up his fair share of technical fouls, but Louzada lost the most money. Louzada was suspended for 25 games due to violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Louzada was suspended because he tested positive for steroid drostanolone and testosterone.
New York Knicks - Julius Randle ($53,000)
Randle’s largest fine of the season for something he didn’t do. He was fined $25,000 after failing to be available to the media after games. Randle accumulated half of the team’s fines this season, but this was the largest fine of the season. Outside of a handful of technical fouls, the Knicks were fairly low key this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Darius Bazley ($6,000)
While the Knicks were low key, the Thunder were underground. Only four fines were distributed to players with a Thunder uniform. Bazley accumulated three of the four-team technical fouls this season. That’s a quiet season for an NBA franchise.
Orlando Magic - Robin Lopez ($27,000)
Lopez beat out Admiral Schofield by $1,000 in fines. Schofield was fined $20,000 for fighting and was given three small fines. As for Lopez, he was fined $15,000 for fighting and received more technical fouls with the Magic.
Philadelphia 76ers - Ben Simmons ($17,163,948)
Simmons finished with the most fines among all NBA players. Simmons missed 47 games due to sitting out as he practically struck his way out of the 76ers via trade. Because Simmons refused to play, he was fined nearly $17 million. The 76ers officially suspended Simmons for one game, but the rest were considered off-the-court/off-the-field violations.
Phoenix Suns - Devin Booker ($38,000)
Like the Magic, this was a close battle as well. No major violations were issued as these fines were purely technical fouls. Jae Crowder finished the season with $37,000 in total fines, but Booker managed to bump Crowder by $1,000.
Portland Trail Blazers - Jusuf Nurkić ($55,000)
Nurkic was given a $40,000 fine for confronting a fan courtside and grabbing the fan’s cell phone. When he had the phone, Nurkic launched the phone into the stands. Nurkic also had a $15,000 fine for contact with an official. With no Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum, it was already a tough year for Portland. The extra $55,000 in lost money makes it even harder for Nurkic.
Sacramento Kings - Domantas Sabonis ($135,586)
A one-game suspension costs Sabonis about $127,000. That fine alone was more than any other player’s total fines combined. Sabonis was the prized acquisition for the Kings at the deadline, but the team was never able to rally to make the playoffs. Sabonis also went from one non-qualifying team in the Pacers to another.
San Antonio Spurs - Dejounte Murray ($28,000)
Of the $44,000 in total team fines, Murray racked up more than half. The majority of his fines came from $20,000 when he made contact with an official. Other than that, head coach Gregg Popovich runs a tight ship and there were not a lot of slip-ups by the team’s players this season.
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet ($27,000)
VanVleet might have been inappropriate, but it’s funny at the same time. VanVleet hit a three-point basket to help the Raptors go up on the 76ers and then did the popular “Sam Cassell Dance” to celebrate. The problem was he did it right in front of Cassell, who is an assistant coach for the 76ers. He was then fined $15,000 for an obscene gesture.
Utah Jazz - Rudy Gobert ($33,000)
Gobert didn’t do anything too crazy or flamboyant. He just kept racking up technical fouls this season. Eventually, the $2,000 fines became $3,000 and then $4,000. Those start to add up after a while, so he led the team in fines despite Joe Ingles getting ejected multiple times.
Washington Wizards - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($25,000)
Montrezl Harrell gave KCP a run for his money by being fined $21,000. Caldwell-Pope was in the same boat as Gobert. He kept receiving technical fouls and those start to add up when you are getting into the $3,000 fine territory. For the most part, Washington was calm, but Caldwell-Pope was assessed too many technicalities.