This morning I was driving to work and was listening to DC101’s Elliot In The Morning, when I heard them discussing (briefly) Delonte West’s situation. As Delonte is a local guy, it makes sense that they were talking about him (and no, it wasn’t a Wizards v. Cavs sort of thing). I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially this is the discussion from Elliot:
“Hey, who’s that NBA guy, Delonte something? West? So he’s screwed. His contract has a no motorcycle clause in it. It doesn’t matter that it was a three-wheel bike, it’s still not allowed. And just because he got around things by having family own it doesn’t mean he’s not in trouble. He’s done.”
Now, this is from a shock-jock morning show in a town that knows little to nothing about the inner workings of the Cavs. But as Brian Windhorst has discussed (in fact quite eloquently), the Cavs are in a very tough situation based on Delonte’s mental condition. If you didn’t catch the article when Brendan posted it over the weekend, check it out. In an article posted yesterday, Windhorst discussed Delonte returning to Cleveland and meeting with team officials. Of everything in the article, I found this to be the most interesting:
“When disclosing his battle last year, West said he is prone to depression at times when things in his life are going well. Last year, he had just signed a new contract when he left the team to seek treatment. This summer, West got married and was enjoying his new home in Maryland that he purchased after signing the contract.”
That brings me to this last bit that potentially could be the way that the Cavs decide to draw the line. This is from the NBA Uniform Player Contract:
12.OTHER ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES.
The Player and the Team acknowledge and agree that the Player’s participation in certain other activities may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a basketball player, and the Player’s participation in any game or exhibition of basketball other than at the request of the Team may result in injury to him. Accordingly, the Player agrees that he will not, without the written consent of the Team, engage in any activity that a reasonable person would recognize as involving or exposing the participant to a substantial risk of bodily injury including, but not limited to: (i) sky-diving, hang gliding, snow skiing, rock or mountain climbing (as distinguished from hiking), rappelling, and bungee jumping; (ii) any fighting, boxing, or wrestling; (iii) driving or riding on a motorcycle or moped; (iv) riding in or on any motorized vehicle in any kind of race or racing contest; (v) operating an aircraft of any kind; (vi) engaging in any other activity excluded or prohibited by or under any insurance policy which the Team procures against the injury, illness or disability to or of the Player, or death of the Player, for which the Player has received written notice from the Team prior to the execution of this Contract; or (vii) participating in any game or exhibition of basketball, football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, or other team sport or competition. If the Player violates this Paragraph 12, he shall be subject to discipline imposed by the Team and/or the Commissioner of the NBA. Nothing contained herein shall be intended to require the Player to obtain the written consent of the Team in order to enable the Player to participate in, as an amateur, the sports of golf, tennis, handball, swimming, hiking, softball, volleyball, and other similar sports that a reasonable person would not recognize as involving or exposing the participant to a substantial risk of bodily injury.
So, per the boilerplate contract set forth by the Association, Delonte is in violation of the terms of his contract. Obviously, there are other legal issues at play here. Paramount to all of this is the fact that he was riding strapped with three guns on the Beltway. The Cavaliers have a lot of things to think about when discussing this with him, which they have begun to do already. While we may not know we exactly how things will play out, this is Rock’s take on the situation (before I found the boilerplate NBA contract):
I have not heard anything about a motorcycle clause in his contract, but I don’t think the Cavs want to get rid of West. Life isn’t fair, and West deserves harsh punishment from the Cavs. However, the Cavs need to make sure they’re in the Finals this year, and West is a HUGE part of them getting there. As I’ve pointed out before, his On/Off ratings are off the charts and the Cavs last year played much better with him than without him. Obviously Parker helps, but Parker is not Delonte. Furthermore, the Cavs are extremely sensitive toward Delonte’s mental health. We don’t know all the facts yet, but I would be shocked if the Cavs tried to terminate his contract. He’s looking at a suspension for sure, but I think the Cavs will tread lightly on this one.
So that’s where we are. What do you guys think about this whole situation –
PS. Please no Desperado jokes. Those are as played out as the whole “Im’a let you finish” thing.
Denny is a Northern Ohio native and Ohio State alumnus who currently lives in (and therefore blogs from) Washington, DC. Because he lives in the District, he clearly does not understand anything about Cleveland sports. You can follow Denny on Twitter.