Montrezl Harrell Suspended for Pushing D-League Referee

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2016

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 14: Montrezl Harrell #35 of the Houston Rockets goes for the layup during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 14, 2016 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets rookie forward Montrezl Harrell has been suspended five games without pay and will miss the remainder of the NBA Development League season after shoving a referee to the floor during the Rio Grande Valley Vipers' 119-115 loss to the Bakersfield Jam on Saturday night, according to ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins.

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck relayed the NBA's official statement regarding Harrell's suspension:

"Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against referee [Jason] Goldenberg," the NBA Referees Association said in a statement Monday, per Watkins. "Anything less than a multiple-game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials."

Harrell has bounced between the Rockets and the team's D-League affiliate all season long. According to RealGM.com's transaction tracker, Harrell was assigned to the Vipers five separate times this season, with the most recent move coming on March 23.

In 38 appearances with the Rockets, Harrell averaged 9.8 minutes per game while posting 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds a night. But beyond those small numbers, Harrell proved to be a net positive during his time on the court with the 2015 Western Conference finalists.

According to NBA.com's stats database, the Rockets posted a net rating of plus-4.5 points per 100 possessions with Harrell on the floor—a mark far superior to Houston's net rating of minus-2.0 with him off the hardwood.

During his stints with the Vipers, the 2015 second-round pick notched averages of 24.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.4 blocks over the course of 12 games.