Report: Hawks suspend Stoudamire for bad behavior
|Hollinger: It Was Coming|
Salim Stoudamire's suspension was more a case of the straw breaking the camel's back than any individual event, with his moodiness being a season-long concern. But in this case, the final straw was his behavior at the end of Atlanta's 114-109 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night.
Stoudamire had made his displeasure at coming out of games a little too obvious on several occasions this season, and was at it again Tuesday. In this case, he was upset because repeated defensive lapses -- including giving up consecutive baskets to little-used Rick Brunson -- resulted in his playing only 11 minutes, nearly half his season average.
With 18 seconds left, however, the Hawks found themselves trailing by three points with the ball. At a timeout, coach Mike Woodson motioned for Stoudamire, the team's best outside shooter, to come into the game. But when Stoudamire disdainfully threw off his warm-up and made another face as he checked in, Woodson changed his mind and kept Stoudamire on the bench. Atlanta's Joe Johnson ended up missing a contested 3-pointer off the dribble with 10 seconds left.
Atlanta got one more chance when officials couldn't decide on out-of-bounds call and ruled a jump ball with three seconds left (a bizarre incident in itself). With Atlanta still down by three and out of timeouts, Woodson inserted Stoudamire again. This time, he made a lackluster effort to retrieve a jump ball that he was beaten to by Ray Allen and allowed two more seconds to tick away before finally fouling, further drawing Woodson's ire.
While coach Mike Woodson wanted to keep the incident inside the organization, he did hint that it was related to Stoudamire's attitude about substitutions.
"There's a standard of behavior in the locker room, on the floor and everywhere else that I think you have to uphold as a good teammate that just isn't there," Woodson told The AJC. "I'm not going to tolerate it. Not from Salim or anyone else on this team."
Stoudamire, whose enigmatic reputation has followed him through his career, was benched earlier in the season for essentially the same offense. Lute Olson, his coach in college at Arizona, benched him in both his junior and senior seasons because of his attitude and demeanor.
Stoudamire's agent, Aaron Goodwin, said he spoke with Hawks general manager Billy Knight to find out what precipitated the suspension.
"I'm definitely talking to Billy about the circumstance involved," Goodwin told the paper. "I want to make sure Salim is being treated fairly."
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