Rockets CEO: No NBA favoritism for Paul, Harden

Reuters

Houston CEO Tad Brown was quick to squash conspiracy theories about why Rockets stars Chris Paul and James Harden avoided suspension following an incident after Monday night's loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.

But he's also not thrilled about Clippers forward Blake Griffin not being punished for his on-court behavior during the game.

On Wednesday the NBA levied a pair of two-game suspensions on Houston's Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green after a contentious 113-102 Clippers win. The league cited both players for sneaking into the Clippers' locker room afterward and their alleged "hostile, verbal altercation with several Clippers players."

Hoping to dispel the notion that Paul, head of the league's players union, and Harden, a five-time NBA All-Star, received favoritism despite reports they had also crashed the wild locker-room scene, Brown defended both players on Thursday.

"The league is agnostic when it comes to these types of things, and the fact that Chris -- that neither Chris nor James were reprimanded was because they didn't do anything, they were peacemakers (in the situation)," Brown said. "And this was coming from all of the reports that were investigated by both Clippers staff, security staff and Rockets staff. The idea that somehow Chris Paul is receiving preferential treatment because he's connected with the players union, and his relationship with the Players Association is just silly."

Brown admitted he found it surprising that the Clippers' Griffin, also a five-time All-Star, received no discipline from the league office after appearing to make unnecessary contact with Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni in an unusually aggressive manner late in the fourth quarter. The incident came shortly before an animated exchange between Griffin and D'Antoni, with both being assessed double-technical fouls.

"I think the number of games seemed heavy, because we thought that the (comparable incidents in the NBA's past) were much more geared toward the one-game potential suspension. I think Trevor was prepared for that. That seemed to be where it was. I was a little surprised by Gerald, but again the league did a full review on this."

But Brown says his organization will accept the league's ruling.

"Mike D'Antoni is a great guy, and Mike decided he just wants to let this go," Brown said. "Things happen in the heat of battle, but we were surprised, I think, a little bit that Blake was not -- didn't receive any discipline in any form or fashion.

"They reviewed everything, and again the league is very thorough in these things, and they're very impartial. And I understand (vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe's) explanation in everything in reviewing the tape, and reviewing everything else, but I also was there and I also have spoken with Mike and our guys and it was a situation that we think could've been avoided. But the league has made its decision, and we respect that. And Mike respects that. That's the most important thing, and we'll go forward from there."

--Field Level Media

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