On the court, DeAndre Liggins does most everything right.
He's not perfect. But his mistakes never stem from of a lack of effort.
Off the court, the Thunder guard spent part of his weekend in the Oklahoma County jail, arrested Saturday afternoon on complaints of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.
Liggins isn't the first player in Thunder history to be arrested. But his booking certainly is the most disturbing. And now it will serve as a case study. Put the Thunder to the test.
For an organization that has always prided itself on being a pillar in the community and having a roster full of upstanding citizens, the team must now decide what to do with what could be its first felony offense if Liggins is convicted.
The decision might be an easy one.
Liggins is entering his second season with the team, third in the NBA. He was hard worker and a hustler but still a bit player in his first run with the Thunder, appearing in 39 games and playing a total of 290 minutes. Later this month, he was expected to enter training camp fighting for the 15th and final roster spot.
Already shaping up to be stiff following the draft night additions of Andre Roberson and Steven Adams, the competition for that final spot now includes free agent signee Ryan Gomes and the expected signing of combo guard Diante Garrett.
Liggins, on this team, is practically expendable.
Additionally, because Liggins is on a non-guaranteed contract, he has to make the team to earn his $884,293 league minimum contract. The Thunder could waive him any day and wipe their hands of the alleged situation and Liggins' salary, saving the organization some dollars while also saving it from a distraction.
Many already think Liggins has played his last game in a Thunder uniform.
The franchise's standards might simply be too high to have Liggins stick around. Failing to part ways with Liggins after such an appalling alleged incident would fly in the face of one of the organization's leading tenets — bringing to town not just quality players but also quality people. By hanging onto Liggins the Thunder also runs the risk of sending mixed messages to the remaining players, five of them who this season will have been in the league three years or less.
And so we wait, with no real precedent available to forecast what will come of this unfortunate alleged situation.
Liggins is only the fifth player in Thunder history to have a run in with the law, only the second to do so within the city limits.
Kendrick Perkins was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct in his hometown, Beaumont, Texas, in August 2011. He was released on $150 bail and charges were later dropped. Two months earlier, Nate Robinson was busted for urinating on a sidewalk outside a Barnes & Noble in White Plains, N.Y. He was issued a ticket and released on $100 bail.
In August 2010, Nenad Krstic was at the center of an ugly in-game brawl between his Serbian national team and the national team of Greece during an international tournament in Greece. Krstic threw a chair at a Greek player, striking him in the head and drawing blood. He was held overnight in a Greek jail and released pending an investigation.
In May 2010, a 20-year-old James Harden was in a downtown Oklahoma City club despite being underage. Harden was not arrested or cited, but a manager at the establishment was issued a misdemeanor citation.
That's five brushes with the law for the Thunder franchise in five years. Not a bad ratio. Don't believe us? Just ask around in places like Portland and Indiana and Washington.
But on a hot and sticky Saturday afternoon, the Thunder unexpectedly stumbled into its most serious alleged offense yet.
Soon we'll find out just how serious the organization takes this matter.