Dallas Mavericks forward Devin Ebanks has been suspended two games for pleading nolo contendere, or no contest, to driving under the influence of alcohol, the NBA announced Monday afternoon.
Ebanks was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI in the early hours on Nov. 9, 2012, in California while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team that drafted him out of West Virginia in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft. California Highway Patrol officers pulled Ebanks over at 2:49 a.m. near Hollywood and booked him an hour later, according to Mike Bresnahan and Andrew Blankstein of the Los Angeles Times:
Ebanks was released later Friday morning after posting $5,000 bail. A post on his Twitter account Thursday afternoon encouraged his followers to celebrate a woman’s birthday Thursday night at Roxbury night club near Hollywood. [...]
It was Ebanks’ second incident with law enforcement in a little more than a year. Prosecutors declined to file charges against him last December after a woman alleged Ebanks sexually assaulted her three months earlier.
Ebanks hadn't exactly covered himself in glory on the court to that point in the season, chipping in 2.5 points and two rebounds a game in 10 minutes of action while shooting just 23 percent from the floor, but the incident surely didn't help matters. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni went a full two weeks before getting Ebanks back in the lineup in a blowout win over the Mavericks, and limited him to just 15 appearances over the balance of the season, handing the 23-year-old more than token minutes only during a mid-December stretch in which the foundering Lakers were beset by injuries.
"It was definitely a disappointing year knowing how hard I worked in the summer," Ebanks said after the season. "Just the whole season overall, it was a big disappointment for me. I don’t want to get down. I’ll be back better next year."
But he wouldn't be back with the Lakers, who'd apparently seen enough after three seasons. No other team went hard after Ebanks in free agency, either, resulting in him signing with the Mavericks in mid-September on a non-guaranteed contract for the veteran's minimum. He didn't play in the Mavericks' preseason-opening loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, but did chip in six points, two rebounds and a block in just under eight minutes of play in Dallas' win last Wednesday over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Ebanks' suspension will begin with the first game of the regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play, which, for a training-camp invitee like him, complicates things a bit. The task of winning a job out of camp already figured to be difficult enough in a crowded Mavericks wing mix that includes incumbents Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder and Vince Carter, offseason acquisitions Monta Ellis and Wayne Ellington, rookie Ricky Ledo and eyebrow-tattoo aficionado Renaldo Balkman; the fact that Ebanks would be unavailable to start the season even if he played well enough this preseason to make it could harm his chances even further.