Kings’ big man Domantas Sabonis, acquired in a deal at the trade deadline, was suspended for one game by the NBA after making contact with an official while arguing a foul call, the league announced Wednesday.
The Sacramento Kings were down 14 points to the New York Knicks late on Monday.
The play occurred with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter and the Kings trailing 112-98.
Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley drove past Sabonis and missed a layup, but an official hit Sabonis with a blocking foul for light contact.
Sabonis was incensed and lightly bumped the official while berating him.
He received two technical fouls, and that led to his ejection.
Sabonis was ejected after this play pic.twitter.com/dUiuFQKmQN
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 8, 2022
The NBA described Sabonis’s behavior while announcing his suspension:
“Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis has been suspended one game without pay for aggressively confronting and making contact with a game official, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.”
“The incident began with Sabonis receiving a technical foul for an unsportsmanlike reaction to a called foul. Sabonis then reacted demonstratively again in the vicinity of the game official and approached and bumped the official in a hostile manner, resulting in a second technical foul and an ejection.”
The Sacramento Kings released a statement defending their player and disagreeing with the league’s assessment.
They described him as a “consummate professional.”
We disagree with the NBA’s decision to suspend Domantas Sabonis. He is a consummate professional and the ultimate competitor. We stand behind Domas, and he has our full support.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 9, 2022
Sabonis served his suspension on Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets, who defeated the Kings 106-100.
The suspension comes with the Kings still struggling to make the leap forward they envisioned when they traded for Sabonis.
In order to land the big man, the Kings gave up promising young star Tyrese Haliburton and sharpshooter Buddy Hield but clearly hoped Sabonis’ elite rebounding and passing for a big man would put them in playoff contention.
Unfortunately, at this rate, the fit is not going the way Sacramento envisioned the Domantas Sabonis trade going.