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

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 08: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after being called for a technical foul by referee Natalie Sago #9 during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on March 08, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Timberwolves 113-104 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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 was ruled out of Sunday night’s game in Los Angeles against the Lakers with a hamstring injury.

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. Gobert is making $41 million this season.

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.