CJ McCollum questioned the NBA suspending him for Opening Night after he briefly left the bench area in a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns.

McCollum took a few steps on the court, he says, to pull teammate Caleb Swanigan away from Alex Len.

CJ says he’d have been OK with a larger fine than the $165K he’ll have to fork over, if it meant he wouldn’t miss the first game of the Portland Trail Blazers’ regular season Wednesday night.

Per The Oregonian:

“They could have suspended me for the preseason game,” McCollum said. “They could have fined me more money and allowed me to play in the regular season game. It’s the intent and it’s usually up to them, it’s to their discretion. So they had a choice. They didn’t have to suspend me.”

 

Added Evan Turner: “I thought CJ was at the level where you don’t get in trouble for that. I was going to walk on the court, but I was like, ‘No. They’re not messing around — they would cancel the whole year if I was on the court.’ I just figured (with) CJ, they would just let it go.”

 

Len and Swanigan were given technical fouls.

 

“I was disappointed,” he said Sunday at the Blazers’ practice facility in Tualatin. “You never want to miss games, especially like that, at the start of the season. You work so hard to prepare for the season. You go through a lot of preseason games that don’t mean anything and then you miss a regular season game because of an incident that you weren’t even involved in. But there’s nothing I can do about it now but move forward and learn from it.”