Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum suspended for season opener

Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images /

C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers will be suspended for the team’s 2017-18 regular season opener against the Phoenix Suns.

This just in from the NBA: Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum will be suspended for one game without pay after leaving the bench during an altercation between fellow teammate Caleb Swanigan and Phoenix Suns center Alex Len last Wednesday in a preseason game at Talking Stick Resort Arena .

What this means for McCollum is that he will be unable to play in Portland’s 2017-18 regular season opener on Wednesday against — that’s right — the Phoenix Suns! It may be a bit ridiculous, but rules are rules.

The altercation referenced in McCollum’s suspension occurred at the 9:33 mark in the fourth quarter of last Wednesday’s contest. In the middle of a 3-point attempt by Meyers Leonard, Len was able to secure inside position on a box-out while Swanigan tried to contest for the rebound.

Len took offense to the rookie’s effort, turning around and pushing Swanigan in the back. Swanigan came back at Len hard, forcing the refs to pull them apart as the two big men exchanged words. The players on the court also converged on the area to support their respective teammates, as well as C.J. McCollum, who was sitting on the hardwood in the bench area.

The altercation resulted in double technicals and ejections for both Len and Swanigan. I admit that when I was watching the game live, I had noticed that the Blazers bench had stood up immediately, but had not noticed McCollum leave the bench.

Now I’m sure everyone can appreciate having a great teammate like McCollum, but NBA rules prohibit players from emptying the bench during on-court altercations. The current punishment for leaving the bench during an altercation (a punishment that desperately needs to be revisited) is a one-game suspension without pay.

Per ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, the suspension will cost McCollum $165,000.

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The 26-year-old shooting guard will be eligible to return for Rip City’s game against the Indiana Pacers this Friday.