The Trail Blazers will be without C.J. McCollum for their season opener, and McCollum will be without a game check of $165,000. The NBA suspended Portland’s guard one game after he walked away from the bench and onto the court during Wednesday’s preseason scuffle between Caleb Swanigan and Alex Len.
The reason for McCollum’s punishment is at the nine-second mark of this video. He’s the only Blazer in a red pullover walking onto the court:
A GIF of McCollum’s journey:
There’s not much to see. McCollum walks towards Swanigan but quickly gets brought back by a team staffer who’s likely very aware of the potential consequences. It’s an entirely harmless, barely noticeable event, but by the letter of the NBA rulebook, which prohibits “leaving the bench area during an altercation,” McCollum was in the wrong.
McCollum argued for an alternate punishment. From The Oregonian:
“They could have suspended me for the preseason game,” McCollum said. “They could have fined me more money and allowed me to play in the regular season game. It’s the intent and it’s usually up to them, it’s to their discretion. So they had a choice. They didn’t have to suspend me.”
Swanigan and Len both received double technicals and were ejected from the game, but were not suspended.