In the end, nothing actually happened.
Yes, Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza did wait outside the Mavericks locker room for Dallas center Salah Mejri last night. And by the way, teammates James Harden, Patrick Beverley and Eric Gordon also were there, ostensibly to back up their teammate.
And, yes, it sure looked like Mejri had every intention of meeting Ariza in the American Airlines Center hallway until Mavericks security and assistant general manager Keith Grant calmed Mejri down and steered him out to the player parking area.
No confrontation actually occurred, but that doesn’t mean Ariza’s and Mejri’s actions, or intended actions, will be ignored by NBA officials. In fact, precedence suggests that Ariza — and perhaps to lesser-extent Mejri — faces a potential fine and/or suspension.
In 2013, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was suspended one game by then-NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson for attempting to confront Boston’s Kevin Garnett after a game.
Anthony had been angered by something Garnett said to him during the fourth quarter of that night’s game. Last night, Ariza clearly was angered by something Mejri said. Ariza and Mejri were whistled for a double-technical, and since it was Ariza’s second technical of the game, he was ejected.
In 2013, Anthony waited for Garnett outside the Celtics locker room, then later waited for Garnett outside Boston’s team bus. Though Anthony later said he only intended to talk to Garnett, his stated intent wasn’t enough to avoid the suspension.
“There are no circumstances in which it is acceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game,” Jackson said in levying the suspension. “Carmelo Anthony attempted to engage with Kevin Garnett multiple times after Monday’s game and therefore a suspension was warranted.”
In 2014, Memphis forward Zach Randolph and Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins were fined $25,000 each by the NBA following this incident, as reported by The Daily Oklahoman:
An altercation between Perkins and Randolph took place “near the locker rooms,” which included “yelling and walls and doors being hit.” Thunder officials denied that a physical confrontation took place and reported that the exchange was merely verbal in nature.
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