NBA Roundtable

Small Dustup, Serious Consequences?

In General NBA on October 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm

A incident between Delonte West and Von Wafer. Alex Kennedy (Hoopsworld) reports

Less than one week after tempers flared during a two-on-two game in practice, Delonte West and Von Wafer had another altercation earlier this afternoon. 

During a three-on-three game with Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody, Semih Erden and assistant coach Tyronn Lue, West began fouling Wafer each time the reserve guard touched the ball. West was increasingly physical to the point that Wafer exited to the locker room midway through the game. As he walked away, West barked obscenities and taunted Wafer.

After Wafer had showered and sat down at his locker, West approached from behind and threw a punch. Wafer didn’t see the punch coming but quickly got off of the ground and connected on two punches of his own. He then wrestled West to the ground before being separated by the team’s veterans.

Kennedy adds in the reaction from the Celtics leadership (players and management)

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were very unhappy with the incident, especially since it occurred just hours before a game. Doc Rivers met with the players and tried smooth things over shortly after.

Sources close to the situation say that the Danny Ainge and the Celtics have grown tired of West’s confrontations with teammates and are considering releasing the point guard.

West has gotten into skirmishes with multiple teammates this season and his confrontational ways have grown old very quickly in the locker room.

Celtics Ownership

Also, worth noting Wyc Grousbeck’s stern reaction to Sebastian Telfair’s gun charge a few years. He takes a hard line with players who hurt the image and the culture of the Celtics.

Second Incident

The previous incident was fairly minor — here is a video and written report on that from CSNNE.

Losing Delonte West

If Celtics do waive Delonte West, it will be a major blow to their bench.

  • He is a stabilizing figure in that second unit
  • West is the best shooter amongst the supporting cast. A career 37% shooter from behind the arc.
  • A combo guard who can play both guard positions. Has a serviceable handle and passing ability for a point and well above average for a two guard. This versatility is a great aid to score first backup PG Nate Robinson + the backcourts shooting ability helps free up Marquis Daniels.
  • Delonte West is also a very good defensive player against smaller two guards but sometimes struggles against bigger twos who have a post game. He is a solid defensive PG with a big frame (different option to Nate Robinson).
  • West is a solid rebounding PG but below average as a SG.

Overall, Delonte West is a very talented role player and offers a great deal to the Celtics. His loss would weaken the bench considerably.

Avoid Waiving Delonte

The Celtics management need to explore all options before waiving Delonte West. They need to pursue any avenues available to them where they can walk this incident back and get the players involved agree to cease this nonsense and get back to business.

Only if that is impossible or if things escalate further down the road … should Boston consider waiving Delonte West.

Reaction

First Reaction

A few punches thrown between teammates …

It happens, no need to waive anybody over it.

Second Reaction

The part that might change that though is the final paragraph of Alex Kennedy’s report

West has gotten into skirmishes with multiple teammates this season and his confrontational ways have grown old very quickly in the locker room.

Depending on how bad those previous skirmishes were, this could be a very serious situation for Delonte and his Boston Celtics future.

I hope they can find a solution here that would allow Delonte West to stay in Boston.

Delonte’s Past

Some things worth noting

  • Currently serving a 10 game suspension on gun charges
  • The Celtics alluded to incidents during his first tour of duty in Boston after they signed West + indicated that he would be on a short leash.
  • Has had some personal issues, psychological issues, bouts of depression, in the past (Bi-Polar? I forget).

A link on Delonte’s admission of his past (mental) troubles

“The ugly head started to show itself again,” the 25-year-old West said. “It’s been haunting me my whole life, self-destructive behavior. Everything is going good for me — being on a great team where anything less than a championship is unacceptable this year, getting a new contract, being in a good situation, When everything is on the upside, I’m feeling the worst.

“I’ve had a history of doing that in the past, where I’ve quit teams or sabotaged my own success. At this juncture in my life, I don’t want to keep doing that. I want to enjoy being in the NBA. I want to enjoy being successful. I want to enjoy my life.”

All things which could work against him now. Unfortunately.

Delonte West was on a non-guaranteed contract precisely because of these concerns from his past. The incident today and reports of recent problems have put his Celtics future in a precarious situation.

Updates

#1 — Adrian Wojnarowski reports (link one, link two)

Delonte West has been livid with Von Wafer for days, source says, and Hoopsworld.com reports it escalated into fight at facility today.

West believed Wafer was responsible for published anonymous quote saying it was “obvious” when West hadn’t taken his medicine, source says.

#2 — It’s looking like Boston are going to waive Delonte West.

#3 — Danny Ainge has made a statement

Danny Ainge confirmed there was an altercation today between Delonte West and Von Wafer, but he denied there would be any repercussions.

A report on hoopsworld.com said Ainge was considering releasing West, but the Celtics’ director of basketball operations said there is absolutely no truth to that.

“There was something that happened, and we’re handling it internally,” Ainge said moments ago. “We’re happy with Delonte and Von and how they’ve been playing, and today was unacceptable.”

Excellent news. Delonte West will not be waived.

#4 — A second update from Danny Ainge

Ainge said that neither player was in jeopardy of being released. He went to bat for West, saying that any notion that the 27-year-old guard had been involved in conflicts beyond this one and a previous dust-up with Wafer last week were untrue.

“I did read that story and there was a lot of lies in that story,” Ainge said. “Things were twisted. It’s not true. We’re not releasing Delonte. There have not been any other of these altercations that have happened this year.

“Guys trash talk and that kind of stuff by I’m not aware of any other altercation among any players at all during the course of the year. These things happen. It’s not acceptable behavior. We’ll just handle it internally and that’s it.

“Whoever wrote the story had something [against] Delonte. That’s for sure. There’s some untruths in that story.

Not surprising. Hoopsworld doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to the accuracy of their articles.

Plus, there have been plenty of stories about Delonte’s off court issues and how some of his problems have adversely effected his life but very few stories about him being a poor teammate. The basketball court and being around his team and teammates has always been where Delonte functioned best.

#5 — Von Wafer’s involvement in the leaked story and fight … questions arise

Another development … Von Wafer being accused, or least suspicions are high that his people leaked the information of the fight and possibily instigated the fight in the first place.

First link from Steve Bulpett (excellent beat writer)

Actually, the Celts do have an idea, with sources saying they believe the entire report emanated from the Wafer camp. The Celtics’ current plan is that West will enter the rotation when he returns, and Wafer will move deeper down the bench.

And

Neither wanted to elaborate beyond their statements, but they are reportedly not pleased that someone chose to make the matter public. There was a question of whether it was done to make West look bad.

The Celts remain concerned about West, who has suffered from bipolar disorder, but sources were quick to point out that yesterday’s altercation is not related to that issue.

Link two — Carloyn Manno’s (CSNNE) twitter account (twitter one, twitter two)

The real issue here is trust. If other C’s think Von Wafer isn’t keeping in house issues in house, may start to splinter the locker room

Multiple ppl telling me Von Wafer is difficult to deal w/. My gut tells me Wafer is the instigator and Delonte used very poor judgement.

Unlike Delonte West, Von Wafer does have a history of disruptive behaviour and indiscipline inside the locker room.

#6 — A little closure to the story

Two days after Boston Celtics teammates Delonte West and Von Wafer engaged in a locker room fight, West said that he and Wafer moved on and laughed off the altercation.

“I’m competitive, he’s competitive, as long as it’s for the betterment of the team, there’s nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better,” West said. “Things went a little far, but at the same time, we were able to move past that. We’re professionals.”

Asked if he felt the two had patched things up, West added: “Oh yeah, no question. We laughed about it [Sunday].”

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  1. Dave,

    In sharp contrast to what you’ve suggested here, thus far, IMO, the Celtics NEED to get rid of Delonte West, as soon as possible.

    He is a loose cannon – quite literally – just waiting to explode.

  2. A new update on the situation — Danny Ainge has made a statement confirming the alternation and added that Delonte will not be waived.

    I guess that is that … for the time being at least.

    A second update to this story from Danny Ainge

    Ainge said that neither player was in jeopardy of being released. He went to bat for West, saying that any notion that the 27-year-old guard had been involved in conflicts beyond this one and a previous dust-up with Wafer last week were untrue.

    “I did read that story and there was a lot of lies in that story,” Ainge said. “Things were twisted. It’s not true. We’re not releasing Delonte. There have not been any other of these altercations that have happened this year.

    “Guys trash talk and that kind of stuff by I’m not aware of any other altercation among any players at all during the course of the year. These things happen. It’s not acceptable behavior. We’ll just handle it internally and that’s it.

    “Whoever wrote the story had something [against] Delonte. That’s for sure. There’s some untruths in that story.

    Good news.

  3. Another development … Von Wafer being accused, or least suspicions are high that his people leaked the information of the fight and possibily instigated the fight in the first place.

    First link from Steve Bulpett (excellent beat writer)

    Actually, the Celts do have an idea, with sources saying they believe the entire report emanated from the Wafer camp. The Celtics’ current plan is that West will enter the rotation when he returns, and Wafer will move deeper down the bench.

    And

    Neither wanted to elaborate beyond their statements, but they are reportedly not pleased that someone chose to make the matter public. There was a question of whether it was done to make West look bad.

    The Celts remain concerned about West, who has suffered from bipolar disorder, but sources were quick to point out that yesterday’s altercation is not related to that issue.

    Link two — Carloyn Manno’s (CSNNE) twitter account (twitter one, twitter two)

    The real issue here is trust. If other C’s think Von Wafer isn’t keeping in house issues in house, may start to splinter the locker room

    Multiple ppl telling me Von Wafer is difficult to deal w/. My gut tells me Wafer is the instigator and Delonte used very poor judgement.

    Unlike Delonte West, Von Wafer does have a history of disruptive behaviour and indiscipline inside the locker room.

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