Lamar Odom and Leaving the Bench
We’re back on the Rudy Fernandez/Trevor Ariza incident again, but this time, the two “combatants” aren’t the focus of this post. According to ESPN, Lakers forward Lamar Odom is being investigated by the NBA’s front office to see if his actions warrant a suspension. In other words, the “leaving the bench” rule is back in the news. Thankfully, however, a Spurs/Suns playoff series isn’t on the line as we await the findings concerning Odom’s actions.
What they will be looking at is when Odom and Brandon Roy squared off with each other before Odom gets pushed back to the bench area by an assistant coach. It’s at the 1:38 mark in the lead video.
Following the letter of the law David Stern so vehemently defended on the Dan Patrick show following the Phoenix Suns suspensions, Odom should, in fact, be punished for mixing it up with Roy. He clearly stepped away from the bench area to do so, and like the commissioner so eloquently said, the NBA’s leaders can’t pick and choose what rules they enforce.
Following that rationale, I would expect Odom to be serving at least a one-game suspension.
The irony here is, the catalyst for all the unpleasantness, Ariza, will not be suspended by the league for his foul. Commit a foul that makes the basketball world sit up and take notice and you get nothing but an in-game ejection. Get up off of the bench during the fallout of said foul and you’ll probably get suspended by league. See how that works?