Miami Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters has been suspended by the team for their season opener against Memphis on Wednesday night.
Heat President Pat Riley released a statement on Saturday night, saying:
“There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with [Waiters’] unprofessional conduct on the bench last night… As a consequence, I feel we had to suspend him.”
At this stage the Heat have not addressed specifically what any of the incidents were, although Waiters was seen in a heated discussion with coach Erik Spoelstra during Friday night’s game.
He also posted a series of comments on Instagram over the weekend, seemingly taking a thinly-veiled snipe at his head coach by writing “lol I would win to [sic] if I had Bron & wade plus Bosh.”
He also wrote “lol” in response to a comment about Heat rookie Tyler Herro being better than him.
While nothing is confirmed at this stage, it seems a pretty fair bet that Waiters’ unhappiness is stemming from a dearth in playing minutes during the preseason.
He played only 10 minutes in Friday night’s preseason finale, with nine players getting more, even in the absence of Jimmy Butler, who got the night off for rest. Waiters averaged 14.3 minutes per game in four preseason appearances.
He’s entering his fourth season in Miami, and has only played 120 of a possible 246 games in his first three seasons thanks to a variety of injuries, mostly to his lower legs. Waiters is the second player to face a public punishment from the Heat this preseason, after veteran James Johnson was not permitted to attend training camp after his level of condition was deemed not to be up to the team’s standards.
Waiters will return to the team for Thursday, and by all accounts will be allowed to suit up in their second game of the year.