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Mavs Suspend Delonte: 'Tears In My Eyes'
The Dallas Mavericks announced at 11:10 am Thursday that they have indefinitely suspended guard Delonte West.
"We have suspended Delonte for conduct detrimental to the team," GM Donnie Nelson said. "The suspension is effective immediately and no other statements will be issued."
West has played in all seven games for the Mavericks this preseason and is averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game. That includes Wednesday in Wichita, where the Mavs lost to OKC. But Delonte's activity today has been restricted to Twitter, where he's been active and emotional.
A week ago, West worked through another team suspension that was quickly resolved. At that time, Delonte playfully referred to his coach as "Uncle Ricky'' and compared his one-day suspension to a dispute as a "family barbecue.'' Rick Carlisle playfully referred to West as a player with a personality so "different'' that while most NBA players "run on gas, Delonte runs on diesel.'' And the coach also poked back at nosy media wishing to know the details of the incident that led to the player's punishment for Monday's conduct detrimental to the team.
The coach cited a song called "King of Anything'': "It's a song about people who should mind their own ------- business,'' Carlisle said.
So we've got Uncle Ricky, barbecue, gas pumps and a Sara Bareilles song. Oh, and a FishToon:
And now we've got another problem.
"Uncle Ricky handled the situation, you know what I mean?" West said last week. "We went and had a talk, and we came right back to the barbecue."
Now it's raining on the BBQ, though West says it has nothing to do with his dealings with bipolar disorder. "No, I'm not off my meds,'' he wrote. "No I ain't on no bipolar trip.
Last week, Delonte joined his coach in declining to detail the specifics of the behavioral issue. On Thursday, he seemed to be accusing someone (or projecting that someone) of doing something in violation of that.
He tweeted: "Just ask u to talk with me....I'm a grown man...that's not above logic and reason...Before u go to the papers wit false information.''
According to a visit with ESPN, though, it's not a leak to the media but rather a locker-room misunderstanding that is at the root of this suspension.
"There was an argument between two teammates in the locker room last night that didn't involve me," said West. "Somehow I'm being blamed for it. I had nothing to do with it. I don't know what's going on."
Carlisle and GM Donnie Nelson were involved in a meeting with West to settle the situation in one day last week. Nelson's seemingly firm tone in the Mavs announcement suggests this time around a resolution won't be so simple.
"I've got to help him,'' Carlisle said last week, "and our organization is going to help him, too.''
Suddenly, though, Delonte seems to feel unloved.
"I love the city of Dallas, I love playin in the NBA,'' he writes. If I'm not what u lookin 4, that's fine. Just dont kick me in my ass on the way out the door. I didn't do anything to deserve that ...
"I'm just sittin here across from the arena wit tear in my eyes.''