The Heat suspended guard Dion Waiters for 10 games without pay Sunday in response to an incident last week on a team charter flight.
The team said in a prepared statement that Waiters has “engaged in conduct detrimental to the team” in “a number of instances” this season. The latest instance occurred late Thursday as the team was flying from Phoenix to Los Angeles for a game vs. the Lakers.
“We are very disappointed in Dion’s actions this season that include the very scary situation on Thursday night, and grateful that the outcome wasn’t worse,” the team said in the statement.
ESPN reported that Waiters ingested an edible infused with THC, which is banned by the NBA, and then suffered a panic attack during the flight. Waiters received medical treatment after the plane landed, per ESPN’s reporting. Waiters was listed as out with an illness for Friday’s game in LA, and he has not played at all for the Heat this season.
The Heat said Waiters’ suspension is retroactive to the game vs. the Lakers. He will be eligible to return for Miami’s game vs. the Nets on Dec. 1. The Associated Press reported that Waiters will forfeit $834,483 in salary.
“We expect all of our players, including Dion, to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards, and to show professionalism and respect for their teammates, the team, the fans and the NBA community,” the Heat said.
The suspension also guarantees that Waiters will not collect a $1.1 million bonus for games played this season. Waiters needed to play in 70 games in 2019-20 to be eligible for it. He can now play in 64 games at most this season.
Miami reportedly has been trying to trade Waiters for months. Aside from discipline issues (he was suspended for Miami’s opening game this season, also for conduct detrimental) perhaps giving teams pause, Waiters’ contract runs through the 2020-21 season. He was due $12.1 million this season and is scheduled to make $12.7 million next season in the final season of a four-year, $52 million contract he signed in 2017.
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