Rather than leave the decision in the NBA’s hands, the Miami Heat on Wednesday night suspended veteran center Dewayne Dedmon one game without pay for his Tuesday night bench confrontation with coach Erik Spoelstra and ensuing actions.
With “double-jeopardy” banned in such instances, there will be no additional league action.
Dedmon will be suspended for Thursday night’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He is eligible to return for Saturday’s home game against the Bucks, one day before he becomes eligible to be traded for the first time this season.
The league typically issues fines in such matters, with the Heat penalty more severe, based on Dedmon’s $4.7 million salary.
The overall scope of the Heat penalty, in consultation with the NBA, takes into account Dedmon swiping a training device onto the court during his exit amid the second period of the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dedmon received a technical foul and ejection for that interruption of play.
Whether the Heat move is a preamble to a parting with the 33-year-old center remains to be seen.
The differences with Spoelstra apparently came over Dedmon’s displeasure with limited playing time when the Heat only had eight available players against the Thunder.
Dedmon has not been available to the media since the incident.
Dedmon, who was retreating to the Heat locker room at the time that his action disrupted play, was assessed a technical foul and ejected. The technical foul is a $2,000 fine, with the ejection also a $2,000 fine.
The incident with Dedmon came after he had words with Spoelstra by the bench between the first and second periods of Tuesday night’s game, pulled quickly after his initial stint.
On Tuesday night, Spoelstra downplayed the confrontation, but not the flinging of the object on the court and ensuing technical foul and ejection.
“It’s the Miami Heat,” Spoelstra said. “We’re all a part of gnarly personalities. That part was unfortunate. Everything before that, that’s the Miami Heat. That part was unacceptable.”
It has been an uneven season for Dedmon, who has battled plantar fasciitis in his left foot and also missed time in NBA health and safety protocols.
Undrafted rookie Orlando Robinson, who is on a two-way contract, recently moved ahead of Dedmon in the Heat rotation, including his first career start on Tuesday night.
The Heat already have had two players suspended this season, with Caleb Martin and Nikola Jovic receiving one-game bans for an Oct. 22 fracas against the Toronto Raptors, Martin for instigating and Jovic for leaving the bench.
Because Dedmon received a raise to $4.7 million this season from last season’s NBA minimum of $2.4 million he is not eligible to be traded until Sunday (most players signed in the offseason became trade eligible on Dec. 15). The second year of the two-year deal Dedmon agreed to in last summer’s free agency is at a non-guaranteed $4.3 million for next season.
Dedmon’s contract was somewhat of a surprise last summer with the Heat also bringing back emerging big man Omer Yurtseven. Yurtseven, however, suffered an ankle injury during the preseason and has been out since November surgery, not expected to return until next month at the earliest.
The Heat’s formal statement issued Wednesday night read, “The Miami Heat have, in consultation with the NBA, suspended Dewayne Dedmon for one game without pay for conduct detrimental to the team for actions that took place in the bench area of last night’s game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.”
The Heat’s 40 of 40 from the foul line Tuesday night and Jimmy Butler’s 23 of 23 on free throws both were NBA milestones.
The previous NBA record for free throws without a miss was 39 of 39 by the Utah Jazz in 1982. The Heat’s best previous game without a miss from the line was 30 of 30 against the Boston Celtics in 1993.
“I didn’t realize we had not missed a free throw,” Spoelstra said. “But we’ve been a good free-throw shooting team, actually a very good free-throw shooting team, all year. But that’s crazy.”
The Heat lead the NBA in free-throw percentage at .826.
Butler’s 23 free throws tied Dwyane Wade’s single-game franchise record set in 2007 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and were a career high.
“Jimmy was just relentless with his attacks, relentless,” Spoelstra said. “Going against a really big physical matchup, and he was just finding a way to get to the rim.”
It was the most free throws without a miss since James Harden went 24 of 24 for the Houston Rockets in 2019, which is the league record.
Butler, who closed with 35 points despite shooting 6 of 17 from the field, became the first player to score at least 35 with fewer than seven baskets.