What consequences will Delonte suffer –

Delonte WestThis 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:


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.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    Couldn’t disagree more on the Kanye meme. It’s going to be a LONG time before that fails to be funny.

  • victory330

    The cavs not gone cut delonte at all that guy is a moron. The league may suspend him 7 games IF he gets found guilty. Training camp in 6 days! Woooooooo let’s go cavs!

  • AMC

    I think the Cavs are going to handle this VERY gingerly. I’d be shocked if they terminated his contract – he’s way too valuable of a player to this team and would be snapped up in a second by another team. I expect Delonte to plead guilty and receive a fine/probation and then a 4-5 game suspension from the league and that will be that.

    Most importantly though, there’s a human being involved here with a documented history of mental health issues. Delonte’s mental health should be the first priority for Delonte, the Cavs and hopefully, the league.

  • ben

    The Kanye meme is hilarious.

    Delonte will see some form of reprimand, but I don’t think he’ll be kicked off the team. He’s a solid player. We are set for a championship run. He’s generally a good person. His teammates like him. The fans like him. Management is (and should be) sensitive to mental health issues…and really, no one gives to things about victimless crimes like riding a bike w/ a bunch of guns like some sort of anime character.

  • ben

    TYPO – two “things”

  • Eli

    I just cant believe he’d ride a motorcycle with 3 LOADED guns. The chances of dying in a cycle crash are pretty high on their own, but with 3 loaded guns AND on the DC Beltway???!?!, its gotta be astronomical.

  • azv321

    I totally agree with Rock’s assessment. The Cavs need Delonte, and they want to make the situation right without causing him any more emotional distress.

    And, to be nitpicky, it seems like the motorcycle clause (by specifying mopeds as well) refers to two-wheeled vehicles. And it has more to do with causing harm to oneself, as happened with Monta Ellis. You could lose balance, as Ellis did, and fall of and, say, get a high ankle sprain that would keep you benched halfway through the season. But the three-wheeled bikes don’t have that balance problem.

    And, while I’m not making excuses for Delonte carrying loaded firearms, Stephen Jackson got suspended 5 games for FIRING a gun. Delonte was strapped, but he didn’t shoot anyone/anything.

    I think an important lesson from this (and the Beasley situation) is to take the mental states of players more seriously and provide more avenues for counseling in the NBA. Seeing as how the US as a whole doesn’t really provide so well for these instances of depression/bipolar disorder, it may not be a high priority on the NBA’s to-do list.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ #7 – there’s also prohibitions for ATVs from what I’ve gathered (though not explicitly stated in the agreement), so I think the 3-wheeler would also qualify. I know it’s a nitpicky point – and more importantly I don’t think the Cavs will terminate because they truly seem to care about Delonte – but I think if they felt the need to do so, they legally could terminate his contract at this point. I mean, it’s still a vehicle that you’re not strapped to and have essentially zero protection if you get in a wreck.

    The Cavs absolutely need DW and I don’t see them letting him go, but thought that we ought to discuss everything at play here.

  • Dave

    has there been any information released as to what his plans were for those three loaded guns? must have been some serious fight he was headed off to

  • Eli

    @Dave Probably the weekly Thunderdome they hold on the DC border with Prince George’s County.

  • Dave

    i would like to think that he was off to play a little acoustic guitar at the local coffee shop and just grabbed the wrong guitar case on the way out of the door…granted that doesnt explain the two handguns but ill use it for now

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ dave – actually, two loaded handguns is considered a prerequisite for performing at an open mic at a Southern PG County coffee shop. You’re probably spot on.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig

    Can you imagine the conversation Delonte had with the Guitar Center employee when he wanted to buy the guitar case without a guitar?

  • Roosevelt

    There are a few things that need to be sorted out.
    1. Is this thuggery, or mental illness? Not every player who does something stupid is suffering from mental illness. OTOH, not enough sympathy is given to people, even criminals, who only acted out because of their condition.

    2. Will the court accept his disorders as an excuse or factor in his sentencing? If he’s going to jail, there’s no reason to have the situation hanging over the team until he leaves them for good.

    3. Can the Cavs cut ties without looking like they are abandoning a popular and charismatic player when the chips are down? Do they even want to?

    And most importantly

    4. WWLD? What would LeBron do?

  • Isis

    AMC-very well said. The Cavs are a class and professional organization, and first and foremost will be dealing with Delonte’s emotional health (life) issues before anything else. If as is likely his condition played a role in his actions, that will be taken into account. Delonte won’t be excused by the legal process, the NBA, or the Cavs-but it is likely this will be dealt with on a very personal basis with the overall goal to continue to help Delonte work through his very difficult mental health/life issues. He’ll need all the support he can get.

    What won’t happen is a Mangini-type heavy ham handed ego meglomaniacal power/control approach designed to flatten the player and the team. It’s nice to know that the Cavs can be trusted and counted on to do the right thing, in all respects.

  • Omega King

    Any excuse to rip Mangini, eh Isis? Something tells me he knocked up your sister, or committed some similar act of personal offense to you. Book it!

  • Matt#2

    The clause says “discipline.” To me, being kicked off the team is outside the normal interpretation of discipline. Discipline is what is dished out to someone who will continue to be a member. Therefore, I think the contract excludes the option of kicking him off the team for riding a motorcycle; they can’t do it. And, as others have said, it does not appear they should want to kick him off the team, anyway.

  • DCBucks

    He really should have bought his house in Virginia. That was his first mistake. He would have gotten a traffic sitation at worst. Concealed carry here is highly encouraged. Time to get the NRA lobby backing DWest in his fight against Maryland.

  • Jay

    I was going to comment on this until I read Isis’ brilliant comment. I’m going to get on my mountain bike with 2 super-soakers and a water cannon and go for a ride to clear my head.



  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP Diesel

    Viva La Mad Max?

  • tyrogyro

    What a world… A guy can’t ride his trike down to the range for some target practice without getting hauled off to jail? Is this still the USA? Do the math:

    Motorcycles = Awesome
    Guns = Awesome

    Awesome + Awesome = TOTALLY AWESOME

    …how is that a crime?

  • JK

    @ 21

    You forgot a factor…

    Awesome + Awesome / Crazy = Totally awesome / crazy

  • MallaLubba (aka TDML)

    not to play comparisons but…uh…didn’t Shaq willfully place himself on television “boxing”? If a sin is a sin, it ranks the same as riding a motorcycle (less the fully strapped aspect).
    Dude! Embrace the thug. He’s beautiful for it.

  • Eli

    On a purely topical front, will this incident improve Delonte’s game? I mean, if he’s driving the basket, will guys give a second thought to hitting him with a hard foul if they know that they may earn the ire of a man who enjoys loaded shotguns in guitar cases?

  • ben

    Maybe he was going to ask for his money back from his speech therapist and thought he might need a little leverage.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ mallalubba – the Shaq point is valid, and I’m sure he rides his motorbike in the offseason. Over at Frowns they touched on LeBron riding a motorbike (or folks in his entourage doing so) to the Akron game, so I’m pretty sure it’s happening around the Association, and even on this team.

  • Harv 21

    On a serious note, forget about the period of suspension for a minute and picture this: a guy is fighting this particular mental illness, which includes significant depression, and for months hasn’t been around the organization which closely monitors him. He’s riding down the highway, with 3 loaded guns, including one in his waistband and one in his boot. He’s on a wide open vehicle on a public highway. At best, it’s off the charts irresponsible for someone with his responsibility to his employer and teammates. At worst, he was heading for serious trouble. Somewhere in the middle, he’s hoping to be noticed to get some help. He is my second favorite player on the team. But this is a very troubled young man.

  • Lebrowns 23

    I impose no fine, no punishment….let the law do that he’s needed on the court end of story! look at it this was joe blow doesn’t get suspended form his job for being arrested unless he misses work for it. Delonte isn’t missing work..no issue.

  • tyrogyro


    I reworked our equation.

    You can’t divide TOTALLY AWESOME by crazy unless the specific form is schizophrenia (split personalities). Since Delonte suffers from depression, which is strictly crazy. It should be factored in as another multiplication. Therefore:


    substituting TOTALLY for its punctuation equivalent of !!!

    you can get a final answer of

    Delonte West = CRAZY AWESOME!!!

    …again, how is this a crime?

  • MallaLubba

    I don’t know why but etymological equations always crack me up.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    Delonte, I love you and Imma let you finish but Desperado had the best guns-in-guitar scene ever!

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ EZ – Eight Belles called, she’s wondering when you’ll stop beating her.

  • Ike

    I will wholeheartedly agree that people suffering from bi-polar disorder shouldn’t be speeding on a motorcycle on the beltway, strapped with three handguns.

    But the bottom line is that he didn’t shoot anyone, didn’t appear to be on his way to shoot anyone and, outside his somewhat reckless operation of a motor vehicle, wasn’t a threat to anyone at the time he was pulled over.

    For this, I can’t see any more than seven games. Especially when Stephen Jackson got five games for actually discharging a weapon in public.


    This will be a non-issue off the court. On the court may be different. I think West is ripe for a bad season. I think Danny Ferry and his staff are preparing a back-up plan. It may be grim at the SG position this year.