Last Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks suspended guard Delonte West indefinitely. At the time, it looked like the start of a potentially very long issue between the franchise and player, if not the end of West's tenure with the Mavs altogether. So it was a bit surprising when the Mavericks lifted the suspension the very next day. Apparently, the issue was resolved quickly, or at least put aside momentarily.
If the latest news is any indication, the Mavs should have kept West suspended for a longer period of time last week. As revealed in a press release issued Thursday, Dallas has suspended West indefinitely yet again for "conduct detrimental to the team." Here's the full text of the release:
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have indefinitely suspended guard Delonte West.
"We have suspended Delonte for conduct detrimental to the team," President of Basketball Operations 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.
Just like the first suspension, the specific circumstances surrounding this decision are unknown. Nevertheless, West explained his side of the story, at length, on Twitter:
I'm gonna just pray for um!!!...perception is not reality!!!..real is real...in any language,culture...and what's wrong is what's wrong!!
All my family friends fans...who been right der wit me this uphill battle over the last 4years to get to this point....already know
That my name showin up in any fashion in a negative light is the worst thing that can happen.everything Ived worked towards out d window
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.
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 love the city of Dallas..I love playin in the NBA...no I'm not off my meds...no I ain't on no bipolar trip...this real people lives..
And it just ain't right..imma leave it at that..no ill will towards no one...I'm just sittin here across from the arena wit tear in my eyes
West's reference to bipolar disorder isn't just an offhand comment. He does in fact deal with the condition, a fact he hasn't been shy about discussing with the media in recent years. His most notorious incident as an NBA player — a 2009 arrest for riding a motorcycle with a large number of firearms in tow — was related to his bipolar disorder, and it's a defining aspect of his life. However, that doesn't mean every argument he has or defense he makes stems from being bipolar. And, if we believe him here, this impassioned defense isn't just an episode, either.
Still, it's awfully hard to take the side of West or the Mavs in this dispute simply because we know zero details beyond the suspension. "Conduct detrimental to the team" is a phrase so vague that it could mean anything from being late for various team functions to getting in regular disputes with teammates and coaches. The prior suspension suggests that West and the Mavericks have discussed the situation in detail already, but until the specifics come to light it's best not to assume anything about the fairness of this decision.
It's possible that the Mavs will have another quick change of heart and reinstate West soon. However, two suspensions in two weeks does not bode well for West. If and when we learn any details, perhaps we'll know more about his future with the franchise and the NBA as a whole.
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