by Charlie O. Mallonee
NBA veteran and now a member of the Sacramento Kings Zach Randolph was arrested in the Watts area of Los Angeles on Wednesday night on suspicion of marijuana possession and intent to sell. He was one of three men arrested by LAPD. One individual was arrested for being an ex-convict in possession of a gun.
What’s the big deal — isn’t weed about to be legal in California
The big deal is the amount of marijuana that was seized in the arrest. According to TMZ Sports, two pounds of marijuana was taken into custody during the bust by Los Angeles Police. You read that amount correctly — two pounds. That is just a “tad” above the amount that is considered to be for personal consumption.
Randolph has earned an estimated $175-180 million in salary alone in his 16-years in the NBA. One would not think he would need to be selling “weed” to in order pay his bills. The problem is being associated with a large amount of marijuana that is considered beyond what would be normal for personal consumption places a person in the potential sales and distribution business. Even if the individual were giving the product away for free, that act could be deemed illegal.
The whole scene got out of control
According to reports, when LAPD rolled up on the scene a pursuit began for three adult males. That pursuit involved the entry into a home in the area. When the three suspects (one of which was Randolph) were brought out of the house, the crowd that gathered in the area turned ugly.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, a dispersal order was issued by law enforcement. The crowd then began throwing rocks and bottles at police. They also proceeded to damage several police vehicles.
Fortunately no one in the crowd or any officers were injured in what had to be a very tense situation.
Welcome to the LA County Jail
Randolph was booked into the LA County Jail. He was released on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. on $20,000 bail.
“The charges are false and misleading,” Randolph’s agent and attorney Raymond Brothers told The Associated Press. “We’re looking at all options to resolve this matter.”
He has been arrested not convicted
It is really important that fans remember that Randolph has been charged with crimes not convicted. Because he is such a high profile person, there is a tendency to assume guilt rather than wait for the trail process to play itself out.
Does the situation look bad? It looks horrible, but that still does not mean Randolph is guilty. He deserves his day in court.
What about his future with the Kings and the NBA?
The Kings have acknowledged that they are aware of the situation but the team is withholding any statement at this time which is not surprising.
If Randolph is found guilty of involvement with marijuana, he would also face sanctions from the NBA for violating the league policy on drug use.
The Kings have to make some big decisions in a short period of time
The Kings signed Randolph — a 16-year NBA veteran — to be a mentor “on toughness” for their young players. The question the Kings must answer quickly is whether they still want Randolph to mentor their four rookies, three second-year players and other young members of their team.
This not a situation that vice president and general manager Vlade Divac and head coach Dave Joerger were planning on having to deal with as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Photo of Randolph leaving jail taken from TMZ Sports video