Dion Waiters‘ brutal start to the season just got even worse. The Miami Heat guard has not yet played this year, and it will be a while longer before he does. According to a report from South Florida radio personality Andy Slater that was later confirmed by Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, he suffered a panic attack aboard a team flight Friday after consuming THC-edibles.
Now the Heat are punishing him for it. Waiters has been suspended 10 games without pay for “conduct detrimental to the team,” Miami announced Sunday. The suspension began during Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat released the following statement through Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinal.
“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.
“There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, he will be suspended without pay for 10 games, including the Lakers game last Friday, and will be eligible to return after the Golden State Warriors game on November 29th.
“We are proud of how our players have started the season. 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.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Heat believe that Waiters got the edible gummy from a teammate, though it was not revealed which one.
This is not the first incident of the year for Waiters, who also complained about his role on the team on social media. Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn have earned permanent spots in the rotation in Waiters’ absence, and with Goran Dragic entrenched and Justise Winslow professing a desire to play point guard, there just aren’t many backcourt minutes to go around.
There are serious financial implications to this suspension for both Waiters and the Heat. By missing at least three more games, Waiters will surrender $1.2 million in bonuses. Missing 10 games worth of base salary is substantial as well, particularly for a financially inflexible Heat team.
When the Heat acquired Jimmy Butler through a sign-and-trade, they hard-capped themselves at the apron. That figure, just below $139 million, made it very difficult for the Heat to add salary during the season to improve their roster. But now the money Waiters loses in his suspension is removed from their salary calculations, giving them a bit more flexibility in trades or on the buyout market to add talent.
Waiters is under contract with the Heat through the end of the next season, and these incidents will make it difficult for Miami to trade him for the time being. That means that the two sides, in all likelihood, will need to reconcile and move forward for the time being.