The Miami Heat have suspended guard Dion Waiters for 10 games, without pay, for conduct detrimental to the team following an incident that occurred on the team charter back on Thursday.
The suspension marks the second of the season for Waiters.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski, Waiters experienced a “panic attack” on the team’s flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles after consuming a THC-infused edible.
The Heat officially announced the suspension on Sunday.
“We are very disappointed in Dion’s actions this season that include the very scary situation on Thursday night, and grateful that the outcome wasn’t worse,” the team stated.
“There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team. … We are proud of how our players have started the season. We expect all of our players, including Dion, to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards, and to show professionalism and respect for their teammates, the team, the fans and the NBA community.”
Waiters had missed the Heat’s game in Phoenix against the Suns due to a stomach ache, and was reportedly looking for some relief when he consumed the edible, one he was unfamiliar with.
NBA rules prohibit use of THC.
Waiters will lose out on a $1.2 million contract bonus because of the missed games as he needed to play in 70 of the Heat’s 73 remaining games to claim the bonus.
Heat Suspend Dion Waiters Again
The Miami Heat have suspended guard Dion Waiters for the third time this time for a “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination.”
Waiters will be out until the Heat play the Utah Jazz on December 23rd. Waiters was hit with a 10-game ban back in November for conduct detrimental to the team following an incident on the team’s charter flight where he experienced a “panic attack” after consuming an edible infused with THC.
Before that, Waiters was suspended for the season opener back in October for detrimental conduct, although the team never provided any further details to explain what specific conduct, or incident, led to the suspension.
Instead, Heat president Pat Riley simply stated: “There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench last night. As a consequence, I feel we had to suspend him.”
Due to the suspension, Waiters has been docked over $1.4 million off his $12.1 million salary due this season. Waiters is currently in the third year of a four-year, $47.3 million contract that had incentives that could have paid him $5 million more for playing a certain number of games.
Heat, Erik Spoelstra Agree to Contract Extension
The Miami Heat and long-time head coach Erik Spoelstra have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2024-2025 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
Spoelstra, 48, has spent his entire professional career with the Heat, starting in the video room, working up to becoming an advance scout, then serving as an assistant to Pat Riley’s coaching staff prior to taking over as the head coach in 2008.
When Miami opens up their 2019-2020 season, it will mark Spoelstra’s 12th season at the helm, the league’s second-longest-tenured active coach with one team, behind San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich.
Spoelstra has a .590 regular-season winning percentage and .602 in the playoffs, including four trips to the NBA Finals and two NBA championships.
He is highly respected around the league for his preparation for games.
Heat Interested in Russell Westbrook
The Miami Heat have emerged as an early candidate to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who is working with the Thunder organization to find a new team via trade.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, not only are the Heat interested in Westbrook, but Westbrook would be willing to head to Miami, where he would team up with Jimmy Butler, who the Heat acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers earler this offseason.
Wojnarowski added that Westbrook “welcomes the idea” of a possible trade this offseason, adding that Westbrook and the Thunder are hoping to “find a resolution sooner rather than later.”
According to the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, there have been “talks” between Miami and Oklahoma City regarding Westbrook.
But, the Thunder won’t likely be the only team kicking the tires on acquiring Westbrook.
According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, the Houston Rockets could also be interest in Westbrook.
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