Phil Jackson was fined $35,000 for his verbal criticism of the officiating during the Mavs’ sweep of the Lakers. For the elbow to Maverick guard JJ Barea’s ribs, Laker center Andrew Bynum was fined only $25,000.

An elbow to the ribs with the sole intent of inflicting pain should be penalized more than a verbal jab. In an informal poll of the people in my living room, all agreed with this notion except for the one guy who disagrees with everything to get attention.

Where does this leave us?

I began this column with the intention of taking a stance against the strength of the referee union. But I didn’t, because I did some research and the amount a player or coach is fined is more arbitrary than I thought. Where the money goes after it’s collected is an even shadier issue — the NBA and the NBPA (the players’ union) split the money and each give the money to charities of their choices, which the NBA does not disclose.

Still, the latest fines are chump change for these NBA guys and school tuition for the rest of us. So here are the incidents that resulted in the five of the most notable monetary fines of the 2010-11 season. These don’t include fines garnered from drugs, technical fouls or loss of salary from league suspensions. Words hurt.

5. $50,000 — Jay-Z, part-owner of the New Jersey Nets, who went into Kentucky’s locker room to congratulate them after they clinched a Final Four berth. NBA regulations prohibit team personnel from having contact with players before declaring draft eligibility.

4. $75,000 — Phil Jackson, for making comments about the pending NBA lockout. “I think there’s some people convinced there’s not going to be a year next year,” he said. The Lakers organization was required to match Jackson’s fine. Players and coaches are forbidden from publicly speaking about issues that have to do with negotiations.

3. $100,000 — Kobe Bryant, for his gay slur heard around the world. He still made $202,515 that game, though. He makes $100,000 more than $202,515 in every other regular-season game.

2. $175,000 — Excluding the above, the total amount of money that players and coaches were fined for criticizing the referees. These consist of five $35,000 fines.

1. $200,000 — New York Knicks, for conducting illegal draft workouts in May 2007 and May 2010. And they were totally worth it, according to nobody.

The only thing left to do now is wait for Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban to say something in his team’s series against Oklahoma. He’s long overdue.

Daily Nexus NBA columnist Ravi Bhatia rues the day that Nexus columnists get fined by sensitive people.