Friday, January 28, 2005
Forward out two games; Cheeks considers quitting
ESPN.com news services
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Trail Blazers forward Darius Miles was suspended by the team for two games Friday after a verbal clash with coach Maurice Cheeks during a film session the day before.
The Blazers suspended Miles for conduct detrimental to the team and insubordination. The Blazers were preparing for Friday night's home game against the Clippers when the punishment was handed down.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that Cheeks is contemplating resigning as a result of the incident. Cheeks has been frustrated all season by Miles' frequent tardiness and other behavioral problems, Smith reported.
The Blazers prevailed over the Clippers 90-86.
"I am disappointed that we've had this distraction to deal with today," Blazers president Steve Patterson said in a statement. "We expect a certain behavior from everyone in our organization, and what happened yesterday is not acceptable behavior."
The Trail Blazers would not comment on the nature of the confrontation, except to say there was one.
"He blew up in the film session," said Cheeks, who characterized Miles' comments as inappropriate.
According to The (Portland) Oregonian newspaper, Miles repeatedly called Cheeks a racial epithet.
Messages left for Miles' Florida-based agent, Jeff Wechsler, were not immediately returned Friday.
In a statement released by the Blazers, Miles said: "Things
were said in frustration and I am sorry for that. It is very
important to me that our fans understand that I am committed to
winning and that the losses we have had this season have been
difficult for all of us. My entire focus when I return to the team
will be on winning and helping us make a run for the playoffs."
Miles, who signed a six-year, $48 million contract with the Blazers in the offseason, will also sit out Tuesday's game against the Lakers at the Staples Center.
Miles was not at the team's shootaround Friday morning at the Rose Garden Arena. He recently missed eight games because of a bone bruise in his left knee and was activated last Saturday before the Blazers' 92-83 loss at home to the Timberwolves.
He has appeared in 32 games this season, with 10 starts. He was averaging 12.9 points and five rebounds. He has not started since he was activated from the injured list.
Entering Friday night's game, the Blazers had lost 13 of their last 16 games as they struggled with a spate of injuries. In addition to Miles, the Blazers lost top scorer Zach Randolph for five games with a knee injury and forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim continues to sit out after elbow surgery.
The Blazers are working to clean up an image that has been marred in recent years by player misconduct both on and off the court.
Bonzi Wells was suspended for one game in March 2003 for cussing at Cheeks during a practice. In November 2003, Wells was suspended for two games for a profanity-laced tirade to Cheeks on the court after he was taken out of a game at Dallas. Two weeks later, Wells was traded to Memphis.
Just last week, former Portland forward Qyntel Woods pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse after allegations of dog fighting.
Upon his plea, Woods was immediately waived by the Blazers, who had suspended him indefinitely without pay when the allegations first surfaced back in early October.
Woods has since been signed by the Heat.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.