Brendan Haywood, Rick Carlisle clash
The agent for Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood told ESPNDallas.com that his client was suspended for Friday's game in San Antonio after a heated discussion during the morning shootaround with coach Rick Carlisle.
Agent Andy Miller said Saturday in a phone interview that the dispute was a "one-time isolated discussion" that had nothing to do with Haywood's diminished role on the team in recent weeks.
Sources with knowledge of the incident confirmed that account Saturday, telling ESPNDallas.com that the Mavericks decided to send Haywood back to Dallas after the shootaround and hold him out of an eventual 103-94 victory over the rival San Antonio Spurs because of what was deemed an over-the-line outburst directed at Carlisle.
One source insisted that the clash -- described by Carlisle as a violation of team rules -- was indeed more "strategic" and focus-related based on what was happening during the shootaround and not about playing time, with Haywood's angry reaction to his coach's criticism leading to the suspension.
"It happened at shootaround and had nothing to do with his role on the team," Miller said. "My understanding is he and Rick always had a very good relationship and [Friday's] misunderstanding doesn't change that."
Haywood was virtually promised the Mavs' starting center spot in July when he re-signed with the Mavericks for six years in a deal that could be worth up to $55 million.
But Dallas subsequently acquired Tyson Chandler, who has anchored the Mavericks' improved defense and just put together two of his finest back-to-back offensive performances in road wins over Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Chandler is also widely regarded by teammates as the Mavs' new emotional leader.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has spent the bulk of Thanksgiving week with his family on a vacation away from the team, declined comment Friday night when he was asked about specifics.
"We're keeping it all internal," Cuban said via e-mail.
All NBA suspensions, whether issued by the league or a team, are without pay. Haywood was thus docked $62,727, which computes to 1/110th of Haywood's $6.9 million salary.
Haywood, though, is expected to resume his new role as Chandler's backup Saturday night when the Mavericks play host to the Miami Heat, who earlier this week signed longtime Mavs center Erick Dampier.
Haywood is averaging 3.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game.
Jeff Caplan is a reporter for ESPNDallas.com. Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.