Clippers forward Zach Randolph was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol on Monday morning by the California Highway Patrol.
Several hours later, the Clippers suspended Randolph, 27, for two games for what they called “conduct detrimental to the team.” There are five games left in the Clippers’ season.
“I regret the situation happened,” Randolph said Monday afternoon at the Clippers’ practice facility. “I hope people don’t rush to judgment. What I have to do now is focus on basketball and let the process run its course. Let it work itself out.”
Asked whether the incident revealed a larger problem, Randolph said, “I don’t think so. Situations like this happen. It was a bad mistake, a mistake in judgment. It happens all around the league, in every sport. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t comment on right now.”
An NBA spokesperson said that the league was monitoring the situation. It appears, however, there will not be additional sanctions administered after the Clippers moved quickly to suspend Randolph.
Said Clippers Coach and General Manager Mike Dunleavy: “It’s an unfortunate situation. Based on the limited information that we have, we’re still going to suspend Zach for two games for conduct detrimental to the team.
” . . . Of course, on top of everything else . . . it was hard to do. But bottom line, I just felt we had to do that.”
Randolph scored 18 points in the Clippers’ 88-85 loss to the Lakers on Sunday night.
After the game, while driving a white Rolls-Royce, Randolph was spotted weaving “in and out of [a] lane” by two CHP officers while driving south on the 405 Freeway north of the Washington Boulevard exit at 2:25 a.m., CHP Officer Tony Garrett said.
“The officers made the traffic stop and detected an odor of alcohol from the vehicle,” Garrett said.
An investigation was conducted. Randolph’s car was in a caravan of several vehicles of his friends and family traveling to his home.
Randolph was arrested and transported to the downtown Men’s Central Jail, and was released at 9:01 a.m. Monday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department lists Randolph’s first court date as April 27 at Los Angeles County Superior Court on La Cienega Boulevard.
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Randolph is averaging 21.1 points and 9.5 rebounds in 38 games since the Clippers acquired him and Mardy Collins from the New York Knicks for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas in November. Randolph was arrested in 2003 while with the Portland Trail Blazers after an officer noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the player’s vehicle.
Randolph’s checkered history in Portland raised questions about his maturity when the Clippers acquired him from the Knicks. Clippers executives maintained that his problems had been limited to Portland, noting he did not have any issues in New York.
“I think Zach has matured; obviously this was bad judgment as far as being out the time he was out, etc.,” Dunleavy said. “But in talking to him . . . it wasn’t like he was out clubbing. He was at a condo in Marina del Rey going to his house in Marina del Rey, probably about a mile difference, going a short distance.”
It has been a turbulent season for Randolph and the 18-win, injury-riddled Clippers. In February, he punched Phoenix reserve Louis Amundson during the first quarter of a 40-point loss in Phoenix, drawing a two-game suspension. In March, he endured the death of his father, Fred, 59, in Indianapolis.
Earlier in the season, Clippers’ swingman Ricky Davis was suspended for five games for violating the league’s drug policy.