The NBA announced a one-game suspension for Portland Trail Blazer’s guard C.J. McCollum for leaving bench during a preseason altercation.
It is not a great way to start the season. Alas, it is what must happen. The NBA informed the Portland Trail Blazers that shooting guard C.J. McCollum will be suspended for the team’s opening game. Why? Because McCollum left the bench during an altercation on Wednesday night.
Additionally, McCollum will forfeit a $165k game check, all because he moved away from the bench. The league states the incident occurred with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter in a win over Phoenix on Wednesday night.
After a 3-point field goal by Portland, the Alex Len of the Suns became entangled with Caleb Swanigan. The two pushed and players surrounded them. McCollum, who was not in the game at the time, walked on the floor to help break things up. An assistant coached pulled him off to the side. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the video.
The problem that most people will have is the evidence of intent by McCollum. There was no running in, talking, or physically intimidating action. However, Rule 12, Section VII, Part C of the NBA rules states during an altercations, players not in the game “must remain in the general vicinity of the bench,” or will be suspended.
Even though it was a preseason game, the rule is in place for a reason. And, to this point, it has been consistently enforced.
Ironically, the Portland Trail Blazers face the Suns on opening night, October 18, in Phoenix. In his fourth season in the NBA, McCollum has proven to be one of the league’s best shooters. Last season, he averaged 23.0 points per game, shooting 42.1% from behind the arc.
The team will likely turn to Evan Turn to fill McCollum’s spot on the floor. Luckily, it is just the first game of the year.