The NBA careers of former Kansas University basketball standouts Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers are off to stormy starts, to say the least.
Memphis Grizzlies power forward Arthur and Miami Heat point guard Chalmers were dismissed from the NBA's rookie transition program Wednesday for violating unidentified league rules.
ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine reported that the two were caught with marijuana and women in their Doral Arrowwood resort hotel room Tuesday night in Rye Brook, N.Y. The program began Wednesday morning in the New York city suburb.
ESPN sources said Arthur and Chalmers were fined $20,000 apiece and might start the regular season on the suspended list. They also face possible disciplinary action from their teams.
Foxsports.com quoted a source saying NBA commissioner David Stern was "livid" at the two for violating rules at a four-day seminar in which coaches, referees and former NBA players speak to rookies about adapting to the league.
Issues addressed include life skills, financial planning, importance of character and image, the difference between NBA and NCAA game rules, legal issues and media relations.
"I'm extremely disappointed ... and disappointed is putting it mildly," Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "We're going to have a very serious discussion with Darrell and his agent. We're going to make sure he understands very clearly what the guidelines are. We'll see how that discussion goes and go from there."
A source told the Commercial-Appeal that Arthur and Chalmers "initially refused security entry into the room, prompting police officers to become involved."
The paper said it was not known if the players or the women in the room possessed the marijuana. No one was arrested.
The Miami Herald in its online editions Wednesday night said police were called to the the resort at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday after hotel security reported the smell of marijuana coming from a guest room.
No arrests were made because no evidence of marijuana was present when police arrived at the hotel to investigate, a police official requesting anonymity told the Herald.
"I'm disappointed Darrell showed poor judgment," Grizzlies' general manager Chris Wallace told the Commercial-Appeal. "Darrell is a good person. I still feel Darrell will go on and do a lot of good for himself and the organization. We'll deal with this when he gets back (to Memphis)."
The Miami Herald reported that both players could be subject to enrollment in the NBA's substance abuse program. Both will have to repeat the orientation program next September.
"We are investigating the situation and will have no further comment at this time," Miami Heat spokesman Tim Donovan said.
Chalmers' agent, Sam Goldfeder, told the Associated Press: "I'm in the process of investigating what exactly is going on."
The NBA told the Miami Herald the players were sent home "because they are prohibited from having guests in their hotel room during the program."
"The players were sent home for violating program rules," NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the AP. "They will be appropriately sanctioned and will have to repeat the program next year."
The New York Times reports that the last player to be sent home from the orientation program was Ron Artest in 1999.
Arthur was chosen at No. 27 in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft by New Orleans and was traded three times on draft night before landing in Memphis. Chalmers was the fourth pick of the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was traded to Miami, where he is expected to fight for the starting point guard position.
KU's Bill Self, who coached Chalmers three years and Arthur two seasons, issued a statement:
"We really don't know all the facts yet, and I certainly would never comment publicly on any personal matter concerning any player I have ever coached. Beyond that, I can say that both Mario and Darrell were great to coach. They played a huge role in our success the past few years, in large part due to their unselfishness and the sacrifices they made for our program," he said.