NBA Bends Its Rules To Help Russell Westbrook Avoid Suspension For Game 5

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Avert your eyes, Suns fans.

The NBA’s recent ruling concerning Russell Westbrook is rightly gonna piss both of you the hell off.

Flying in the face of the league’s controversial ruling during the 2007 Western Conference semifinals, the Thunder point guard won’t be suspended for leaving the sidelines to partake in an altercation with Jazz center Rudy Gobert during Game 4 of the teams’ first-round playoff series.

But he will be fined .00489 percent of his contract extension that’ll go into effect next season.

So there’s that.

The rule in question:

In 2007, that rule infamously got Suns star Amare Stoudemire suspended for a pivotal Game 5 against the San Antonio Spurs.

C.J. McCollum was suspended for the Trail Blazers’ 2017-18 season opener for barely coming onto the court in defense of his teammate during the preseason.

The league’s justification of the Westbrook ruling is remarkably flimsy. They apparently determined the Thunder point guard had already entered the court as a substitution.

But footage from the incident shows Westbrook wasn’t waved onto the court from the scorer’s table by officials. It also disproves Westbrook’s claim that he took the floor once he heard the substitution buzzer sound. Because it didn’t.

In a vacuum, Westbrook’s actions didn’t merit a suspension. But neither did Stoudemire’s or McCollum’s. The NBA either needs to follow its own rules, or change the ones they only recognize when it’s convenient.