The story, while on one level not that big a deal, became the talk of the NBA for a few days. And not just among fans, players and staffs joked about it, too.
Golden State’s Jordan Bell was suspended for one game by the Warriors for what officially was called “conduct detrimental to the team.” It came out the next day (via Sam Amick of The Athletic) that Bell had charged something at the team’s Memphis hotel to the room of assistant coach Mike Brown. Bell’s teammates shrugged it off. For example, Andre Iguodala told NBC Sports Bay Area, “It’s really not that big of a deal.”
Thursday Bell made his first comments on the incident and the viral nature of the topic around the NBA, in a conversation with Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area.
“I made an error of judgment and I thought I was doing something funny, and it wasn’t. But I apologized to the individuals involved, and I hope to continue to move forward from this mistake.”
How were the past couple of days because of how this blew up.
“Hectic learning experience and kind of funny at the same time. You see the power of the Internet, social media, all the stupid stuff they put out there. People making assumptions and things like that with the situation.”
Speculation — what did he put on Brown’s tab? — fueled the online discussion of this story. Welcome to the modern NBA, where off-the-court stories often run hotter than on-the-court breakdowns. That said, the buzz around the league (after talking to sources) is that what got Bell in real trouble is this was not the first time, or at least the first time he was suspected of something foolish off the court. Put simply, if this was a one-off situation where Bell was an upstanding citizen who put a plate of nachos on Brown’s room, he would not have been suspended for a game. There was some history here.
Bell is a restricted free agent this summer, will this incident — and the up-and-down nature of his play, plus other off-court incidents — impact what happens come July?
“No, I’m not really that concerned. We have a championship to win. That’s where my focus is now. I haven’t had to deal with contract stuff yet, so I’m going to try to enjoy that as much as possible until that time comes. I don’t think this off-the-court incident should affect on the court, as far as my play. I think I’ve been figuring things out. People have been helping me get through this hump.”
It will be interesting to see which way the Warriors go with Bell this summer. What happens with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, and how the rest of the roster has to be structured after those decisions, will play the most prominent role in Bell’s future. Will the Warriors decide to let him walk if he gets a decent offer, or will they bring him back to play a role in the next iteration of the Warriors? Price will factor into all that, but it’s going to be interesting to watch.
Just maybe not as interesting as speculating as to what got put on Brown’s room charge.