With former MVP and offensive linchpin Dirk Nowitzki reportedly considering surgery as he continues to struggle through swelling in his right knee, the last thing in the world the Dallas Mavericks need right now is another problem to deal with as they prepare for their regular-season opener at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 30. Unfortunately for Mavericks fans, the bad news kept coming on Tuesday morning, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports:
Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
Carlisle did not specify a timetable for West's suspension.
Sources told ESPNDallas.com that West's suspension stems at least in part from an outburst in the locker room after the Mavs' 123-104 preseason win Monday over the Houston Rockets. He had 2 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound in 16 minutes during the win.
West tweeted later Monday: "Sorry moma..." and "I showed off on ur birthday again..."
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Those tweets appear to have been deleted from West's Twitter account.
The suspension is the latest of several disciplinary incidents in which the hard-nosed 29-year-old combo guard has been involved over the course of his eight-year NBA career. The NBA suspended West, then a free agent, for 10 games during the summer of 2010 after pleading guilty to weapons charges on which he was arrested in September 2009. Last season, West was fined by the league for sticking his finger in the ear of Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward during an April game, an incident that Carlisle called "unacceptable" at the time, stressing the importance of West channeling his commendable competitiveness into positive performance rather than destructive, distracting incidents.
West's behavioral aberrations have, in the past, at times been attributed in part to his struggles with bipolar disorder, although it's unclear if that played any role in this alleged "outburst," the nature of which remains vague.
West missed 21 games last year with a fractured right index finger, but was a valuable member of the Mavs' backcourt rotation when available, averaging 9.6 points, 3.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 24.1 minutes per game in 44 appearances (including 33 starts) for Carlisle. After returning to the team on a one-year, veteran's minimum contract this offseason, West figured to serve as a key backup at both guard spots behind the newly imported O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison.
West's ball-handling and play-making were expected to be especially important at the point, now that fellow combo-guard backup Rodrigue Beaubois has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle. The suspension could mean more time on the ball for rookie Jared Cunningham, whom the Mavs chose out of Oregon State with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.