Denver Nuggets superstar and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player award winner Nikola Jokic is getting punished for an altercation with Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia — but nothing so severe it’ll tip the balance in the heated second-round Western Conference playoff series. To wit, there was a skirmish along the front row of Game 4 between multiple Nuggets and Suns players Sunday night at Footprint Center in Phoenix. Seated near that skirmish was Ishbia. Amid the scuffle, it appeared as if Jokic elbowed or shoved Ishbia. The Nuggets big man was assessed a technical foul for the incident, perhaps the only blemish in a sterling 53-point night. Perhaps owing to the fact that Ishbia is a former national college basketball champion with the 2000 Michigan State Spartans, the Suns owner did appear to embellish that contact a bit, making the entire ordeal seem much more violent than it was (Ishbia is in the pea green jacket):
Regardless of the severity of it, the entire incident left the NBA world abuzz about the potential ramifications for Jokic.
Should Nikola Jokic receive more punishment for the elbow on Suns owner Mat Ishbia?Or did Ishbia flop? 🧐pic.twitter.com/pvqagkNc83 — ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 8, 2023
Ever since the NBA’s infamous and ugly 2004 “Malice at the Palace” incident, the league has been especially sensitive about any altercations involving players and fans. Concerns about Jokic missing any playoff games were put to rest when the league announced Monday that it would be fining the 28-year-old native of Sombor, Serbia, $25,000 for “improper contact.” There will be no suspension:
TNT broadcasters just asked: Will Nikola Jokic be suspended for Game 5?Team execs are wondering this too since the rule book says a player should be ejected for entering the stands. Jokic technically just went courtside so there’s room for interpretation. We’ll find out Monday. pic.twitter.com/8jBYdKgSOy — Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 8, 2023
The $25,000 fine won’t hit Jokic particularly hard in his wallet. The Serbian superstar inked a “supermax” contract with the Nuggets in 2022 worth $264 million. Interestingly, one person who is likely not a fan of the fine is Ishbia — but not because the punishment was too light. [firefly_poll] Just a few hours before the NBA announced Jokic’s punishment, Ishbia unequivocally denounced the need for any form of punishment. The Suns’ 129-124 victory, he tweeted, “should be and is the only story. Suspending or fining anyone over last nights incident would not be right. “I have alot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that. “Excited for game 5! Go Suns!”
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/uMB9t5nvi4— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 8, 2023
With the series tied 2-2 (the Suns and Nuggets each won their home games), the pivotal Game 5 takes place Tuesday night at Denver’s Ball Arena. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Great win for the Suns last night in an amazing series so far! That should be and is the only story. Suspending or fining anyone over last nights incident would not be right. I have alot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that. Excited for game 5! Go Suns!— Mat Ishbia (@Mishbia15) May 8, 2023